Activists protested what they called Aurelius Capital Management’s support for austerity in Puerto Rico at the hedge fund’s New York City office Thursday.
“Aurelius holds about $468 million worth of debt guaranteed by Puerto Rico’s constitution and is doing everything in their power to get their money back,” organizers’ said in advance of the protest. “They have aggressively pushed for more austerity measures and even sued the Puerto Rican government.”
At the protest the activists chanted “¡Puerto Rico no se vende!” [Puerto Rico is not for sale] and “¡Puerto Rico Sí, Buitres No!” [Puerto Rico yes, vulture funds no].
Aurelius didn’t respond to a request for a comment.
The demonstration was timed to coincide with the release of a report on how Puerto Rico may be used as a pattern for financially troubled states.
“What is starting to emerge is a pattern in which bankers, hedge fund managers, and other Wall Street investors intentionally prey on communities with predatory debt deals to increase their profits, and when those deals sour, right-wing politicians use that as an excuse to undermine local democracy and enact painful austerity that protect creditors while throwing communities under the bus," the report said.
“The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which the U.S. Congress passed in June 2016, is a potential blueprint for how this model, which was developed at the municipal level in [the bankruptcy of] Detroit, could be applied to states in the U.S. in the future,” it said.