Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Judge Reviews Debt Deal

Oversight Board Files for $6 Billion Debt Cancellation 

Washington DC - Through Thursday, the judge presiding over Puerto Rico's bankruptcy process will hear testimony about a debt deal to restructure about $17 billion of the island's $72 billion debt. The Honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain is administering the island's Title III process, a debt restructuring process created by Congress in 2016. This week Swain is hearing testimony from stakeholders of the merits of a debt deal that Puerto Rico's COFINA creditors and oversight board agreed on. Critics of the plan argue that if the debt deal is approved, it sets up Puerto Rico for failure.

"The current agreement doesn't do enough to support sustained economic growth, reduce austerity or ensure that Puerto Rico rebuilds from last year's hurricanes," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who monitored the island's debt woes since 2015. "If this is the recipe to restructure Puerto Rico's debt, Puerto Rico will be back at the restructuring table in a few years."

This week Puerto Rico's oversight board filed a request to cancel debt to Judge Swain. $6 billion in General Obligation bond debt from 2012 and 2014 exceeded set Puerto Rico constitutional debt limits, according to the court filing.

"The move to cancel this debt is important. It should be declared null and void," stated LeCompte. "The debt violated debt limits and some hedge funds were looking to exploit this debt."

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2019 Goals, Double Our 2019 Impact


Thanks to your partnership, Jubilee USA Network effectively moves Congress, the White House, the G7/G20, the United Nations, the IMF and World Bank to enact policies that reduce poverty, address inequality and promote solutions to financial crisis.

Your gift to Jubilee USA is needed to move forward our 2019 goals. Your donation is doubled now and is tax-deductible. Please join me and make a gift that tackles the root causes of poverty.

Our debt, tax, transparency and trade efforts protect the vulnerable and our planet. With your support our Jubilee USA campaigns: 

  • Will win debt and austerity relief for Puerto Rico and Caribbean islands wrestling with financial crisis. Our disaster-triggered debt relief processes will also gain momentum
  • In the new NAFTA, will gain more ground on stopping vulture funds, settling trade disputes in favor of vulnerable communities and ensuring people can access life-saving medicines
  • Will win the remaining hurricane relief for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. We have another $80 billion to win on top of the $50 billion we already won this year
  • Will prevent corruption from oil and extractive industries by implementing new reporting rules that will stop bribery, protect debt relief and curb tax evasion in the developing world
  • Can pass rules to stop tax evasion, corporate tax avoidance, corruption and anonymous shell companies
  • At the G20 and the IMF, can move forward the implementation of new global responsible lending and borrowing rules
  • Continue to protect transparency rules in Dodd-Frank and protect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from attacks
  • Raise the alarm and push solutions on the growing debt crises in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America.

Whether your gift is $25, $5 or $500, it is needed and can accomplish a lot in the year to come.

In 2017 and 2018, we moved the Administration on global responsible lending, we launched a new website, started the Puerto Rico bankruptcy process and moved Congress and the White House on $46 billion in Puerto Rico and USVI relief aid (a third of what we are continuing our efforts to win).

Because we work closely with Republican and Democratic leadership, we strategically secured "better building" provisions so Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands can rebuild to withstand future storms. We successfully moved $4.9 billion of Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and we moved Congress to remove unfair excise taxes on the island.

Thanks to your support in the last year:

  • We’ve successfully launched more initiatives, projects and campaigns than we have started over the last 5 years
  • We convened major meetings with over 60 Ambassadors and heads of state on our efforts
  • We’ve reestablished relationships with all levels of the White House, Treasury and Republican and Democratic leadership
  • Our efforts continue to receive news coverage in tens of thousands of news outlets in every corner of the world on our tax, trade, debt and transparency work
  • We've seen the largest increase in new member and partner organizations that we've seen for years at Jubilee USA. Our new Muslim, Jewish and Christian partners continue to grow
  • Partnering with the Vatican, we are moving forward major interfaith global events on building an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the vulnerable
  • In March of 2018 we launched a campaign that can change how the global financial system treats countries, states and territories wrestling with financial crisis, debt and austerity. We are doing this by changing the New York laws that govern most of the world's debt
  • In May we launched our campaign to secure medicine access for vulnerable populations in trade agreements. We did this with the full partnership and leadership of Reform Jews and the Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist and United Church of Christ Churches
  • Our efforts continue to curb tax evasion, corruption and “illicit financial flows." We are releasing analysis on human trafficking and anonymous shell companies. We'll pass global transparency measures in Congress
  • We are protecting Section 1504 of the “Cardin-Lugar” amendment that requires US oil and extractive industries to report financial operational data in countries where they operate
  • Our daily work continues on payday lending, student debt and bank protections under Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Last Fall, hurricanes ravaged islands across the Caribbean. Jubilee USA sprang into action establishing a campaign to create a new global process to support debt relief processes for islands when they are affected by natural disasters or hurricanes. Because of consistent campaigning, in April the IMF and United Nations Financing for Development Forum discussed our proposal. In May our proposal was discussed at the G7 and we are moving it forward
  • Within our current budget, we moved to the United Methodist Building and our office space is directly across from the US Capitol. Our new space is larger, more professional and an even better site for convening our efforts.

Your support makes all of our work possible. With a few hundred thousand dollars, we win billions. Please join me and make a generous gift today. Your contribution is really needed, is tax-deductible and will be matched.



Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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Jubilee in the News--A Year of Progress


From The Wall Street Journal to The Hill, Catholic News Service to The Washington Post, and in newspapers from Indonesia to your local newspaper, your support puts media spotlight on the impacts economic policies have on the vulnerable. This year tens of thousands of newspapers, television and radio shows covered Jubilee USA's efforts.

See some of the coverage of Jubilee USA's work below. 

Happy Holidays,


Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director


The IMF, World Bank, Africa Debt and Financial Crisis
The Wall Street Journal (Oct 11)
Global Capital (Oct 15)
New Telegraph (Oct 10)
The Daily Trust (Oct 10)
Sahara Reporters (Oct 10)
BBC World New Live (Oct 10)
Leadership (Oct 9)
The Nation (Oct 9)
Ghana Business News (Sept 5)
ValueWalk (May 17) 
All Africa (Apr 23) 

Small Island Crisis, Caribbean Debt Relief and Hurricane Aid
National Catholic Reporter (Nov 20)
America (Oct 9)
Devex (May 3) 
ValueWalk (April 25)
Bretton Woods Project (April 19)
InDepthNews IDN (Mar 18)
Common Dreams (Mar 16) 

Illicit Financial Flows, Tax Evasion and Transparency
Catholic Profiles (Dec 7)
BBC World New Live (Oct 10)
Ghana Business News (Sept 13)
Common Dreams (Aug 3)
Catholic News Service (May 31)
National Catholic Reporter (May 18)
Bretton Woods Project (April 19)
Common Dreams (Mar 9)

Student Debt
Common Dreams (Dec 7)

Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
National Catholic Reporter (Nov 20)
The Wall Street Journal (Oct 4) 
Aleteia (Oct 1) 
Bloomberg (Sept 28)
America (Sept 20)
Politico (June 8)
The Bond Buyer (May 31)
ValueWalk (May 17) 
The Hill (April 19)
Bloomberg (April 19)
Metro Puerto Rico (April 18)
National Catholic Reporter (April 16)
ValueWalk (April 2)