Una visión para el desarrollo

Una visión para el desarrollo

Al igual que en Grecia, muchos observadores ocasionales del caso de Puerto Rico atribuyen la debacle económica de la isla a la mala gestión fiscal del gobierno. Sin lugar a dudas, la gestión fiscal jugó un papel importante en la crisis de deuda – al no actualizar la política fiscal al gran cambio que ha sufrido la economía de la isla. Sin embargo, la causa primordial de la crisis ha sido otra: la desindustrialización provocada por el cambio de política fiscal de Estados Unidos y el posterior fracaso del gobierno de la isla y del sector privado en crear e implementar una nueva estrategia de desarrollo económico.
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Policy Paper: Devising a Growth Strategy for Puerto Rico

The following policy paper has been co-authored by José Antonio Ocampo – Co-Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue in Columbia University, former Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and former Minister of Finance of Colombia – Deepak Lamba-Nieves, CNE’s Research Director and Sergio Marxuach, CNE’s Public Policy Director.

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CNE and Columbia University start to define the characteristics of a new Industrial Policy for Puerto Rico

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The “CNE Growth Commission” will work on a new growth strategy for the island

June 15 2016 – The Center for a New Economy (CNE) unveiled today in San Juan a joint report prepared with the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) at Columbia University in New York which analyzes key components for a new Industrial Policy for Puerto Rico. Among the key processes are: correct coordination and market failures; identify and support new productive activities; design and implement structural economic reforms; revamp public institutions in charge of economic development; and foster a dynamic dialogue and consultation processes with different stakeholders. The term “industrial policy” refers to a broad set of public policies that seek to support key economic sectors and coordinate productive activity. READ MORE

Statement by Miguel Soto-Class on HR 5278

Statement by Miguel A. Soto-Class, President of the Center for a New Economy (CNE), on CNE’s analysis of HR 5278 “To establish an Oversight Board to assist the Government of Puerto Rico, including instrumentalities, in managing its public finances, and for other purposes/PROMESA”.


“During the past several months, CNE has invested a significant amount of time in sharing our knowledge on the complexities of the fiscal and economic situation of Puerto Rico with those members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate who have been working on the island’s fiscal crisis in Washington DC. We have stressed the urgency of addressing Puerto Rico’s fiscal situation and we have proposed well-thought and balanced alternatives to address the immediate problem of the debt overhang, transform Puerto Rico’s fiscal institutions, and spearhead a process to reactivate economic growth.”

“Although we recognize the enormous amount of work that has been put into achieving a bill that could muster bipartisan support, we must say today that, after carefully analyzing HR 5278, we cannot endorse the bill as it stands.”

“First of all, this project imposes on Puerto Rico a very high cost in exchange for very uncertain benefits. It forces Puerto Rico to barter away its inherent power to make decisions about its own affairs in exchange for the opportunity of accessing a process which – after sorting more than 45 requirements, steps, and levels – may only allow us the possibility of having a court authorize us (or not) to restructure part of our debt.”

“Second, while it is true that Puerto Rico needs strong fiscal controls, those controls need to be imposed by the island’s government institutions. We gain nothing from the imposition of an excessively powerful foreign control board that will balance the checkbook but that, once its mandate is finished, will leave intact the same weak and decayed fiscal and governmental institutions that have brought us into the present quagmire. Puerto Rico needs durable and long-term transformations.”

“Not endorsing this bill was a very difficult decision. But CNE must be true to its mandate and to the values that sustain us. Those who argue that our elected officials have been incapable of achieving the transformations that Puerto Rico needs are right. But the answer to this problem is not a control board designed by other politicians from outside Puerto Rico.  This will only atrophy even more our inadequate economic and fiscal institutions. What Puerto Rico needs is a new civic infrastructure, with new institutions, and with individuals and organizations that can achieve the transformations we need for the future.”

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD CNE’S ANALYSIS IN ITS ENTIRETY: 
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Non-Negotiable Principles: Congressional Action Regarding Puerto Rico

Click here for Spanish version / Oprima aquí para versión en español

The Center for a New Economy (“CNE”) has analyzed Puerto Rico’s economic and fiscal situation for more than a decade. During that period, we have carefully surveyed and considered the socioeconomic context and the rapidly deteriorating financial position of the island, and attempted to address some of the most pressing problems. Through the publication of a series of research papers and policy briefs, we have proposed thoughtful and actionable recommendations to multiple stakeholders, both within and beyond Puerto Rico. More recently, given the severity of the current situation and recognizing the complicated political scenario, we have engaged in advocacy and outreach efforts in Washington, D.C. to educate members of Congress and their staff, and the executive branch, about the need for comprehensive federal action on this issue.

As the situation in Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. reaches a critical point, we are asserting the following non-negotiable principles as CNE’s benchmarks for evaluating any new proposals regarding federal oversight of Puerto Rico’s finances and the process for restructuring and addressing its unsustainable public debt burden.

  1. Any federal oversight has to respect Puerto Rican political institutions and processes. Anything less would be both demeaning to Puerto Ricans and unworthy of the United States. Turning back the clock to the colonial policies of the Foraker Act of 1900 is simply unacceptable.
  2. The ultimate responsibility and decision-making authority regarding taxation and public expenditures must rest with Puerto Rico’s democratically elected officials, who should be transparent and held publicly accountable to their constituents. This is a fundamental principle of democratic governance that should not be sacrificed for political expediency or to appease fringe or special interest groups in the United States.
  3. Any proposal to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt must treat both creditors and debtors fairly and equitably and provide, ex ante, a clear and feasible path for actually delivering meaningful debt relief. In specific, no additional requirements/certifications/votes by an Oversight Board should be required to proceed to a court supervised debt restructuring process after a good faith attempt to reach a negotiated solution has failed.
  4. No classes of Puerto Rico debt should be excluded from the restructuring process. Setting up a two-track process, one for certain creditors, such as GO debt and COFINA bonds, and another for every other class of claims, would be extremely complicated to administer in the best case and probably unworkable in the worst. When it comes to restructuring, clarity is always better than uncertainty.
  5. New economic growth opportunities will not materialize by themselves even after the implementation of a comprehensive debt restructuring. Therefore, a (U.S. House/Senate) economic growth task force for Puerto Rico should collaborate with knowledgeable stakeholder groups in Puerto Rico to develop a long-term economic growth strategy. The design of such a collaborative comprehensive strategy should include short-term measures to spark new investment activity, and medium-term proposals that help rebuild economic institutions, strengthen public governance, and identify strategic bets in particular sectors of the Puerto Rican economy.
  6. Finally, if Congress is unwilling or unable to act, then it should expressly allow Puerto Rico to legislate its own legal framework to restructure its debt. Delaying a necessary restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt will only lead to the destruction of bondholder value and lower recovery levels. Furthermore, going ahead with an untested and potentially disorderly legal process, with numerous creditor lawsuits and years of scorched-earth litigation, would further depress the local economy, increase restructuring costs, and make long-term recovery harder to achieve.

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Principios no negociables en torno a la acción del Congreso sobre Puerto Rico

El Centro para una Nueva Economía (“CNE”) ha analizado la situación económica y fiscal de Puerto Rico durante más de una década. Durante este periodo, hemos examinado el contexto socioeconómico y alertado sobre la rapidez con que se ha deteriorado la situación fiscal de la isla. A través de la publicación de informes de investigación y política pública, hemos abordado algunos de los problemas más apremiantes de la isla y propuesto recomendaciones ponderadas y sensatas tanto dentro como fuera de Puerto Rico. Recientemente, dada la severidad de la situación actual y reconociendo el complicado escenario político, hemos desarrollado esfuerzos en Washington D.C. para educar a miembros y funcionarios del Congreso y el Ejecutivo de EEUU, sobre la necesidad de que el gobierno federal tome acción abarcadora sobre este asunto.

En momentos en que la situación en Puerto Rico y Washington D.C. llega a un punto crítico, afirmamos los siguientes principios no negociables del CNE para evaluar cualquier propuesta relacionada a la supervisión de las finanzas de Puerto Rico por parte del gobierno federal y el proceso para reestructurar y atender la insostenible deuda pública.

  1. Cualquier ejercicio federal de supervisión tiene que respetar las instituciones y los procesos políticos de Puerto Rico. Cualquier otra cosa sería degradante para los puertorriqueños e inapropiado para los Estados Unidos. Darle marcha atrás al reloj y volver a las políticas coloniales del Acta Foraker de 1900 es simplemente inaceptable.
  2. La responsabilidad y autoridad final sobre las decisiones relacionadas a asuntos impositivos y el gasto público debe residir en los oficiales democráticamente electos de Puerto Rico, quienes deben ser transparentes y rendir cuentas públicamente a sus constituyentes. Este es un principio fundamental de gobernanza democrática que no debe ser sacrificado por conveniencia política o para aplacar grupos de interés o sectores específicos en el entramado político de los EEUU.
  3. Cualquier propuesta para reestructurar la deuda de Puerto Rico debe tratar tanto a los acreedores como a los deudores de una manera equitativa y justa, y debe proveer ex ante un camino claro y viable para proveer un alivio significativo de la deuda. En particular, no se deben imponer requisitos/certificaciones/votos adicionales por parte de la Junta de Supervisión para que pueda procederse a un proceso de reestructuración supervisado por una corte. Debe bastar con que se haya hecho un esfuerzo de buena fe para llegar a una solución negociada y este esfuerzo haya fallado.
  4. Ninguna clase de deuda de Puerto Rico debe ser excluida del proceso de reestructuración. Establecer un proceso en dos canales, uno para la deuda de Obligaciones Generales (GO en inglés) y los bonos de COFINA y otro para todas las demás clases de reclamaciones sería extremadamente complicado de administrar. En el peor de los casos, este proceso probablemente sería imposible de ejecutar. En términos de la reestructuración de la deuda, la claridad siempre es mejor que la incertidumbre.
  5. Una reestructuración abarcadora de la deuda por sí misma no traerá nuevas oportunidades de crecimiento económico. Por lo tanto, un task force congresional para el desarrollo económico de Puerto Rico debe colaborar con sectores interesados y grupos informados en Puerto Rico para desarrollar una estrategia abarcadora de crecimiento económico a largo plazo. El diseño de esta estrategia colaborativa debe incluir medidas de corto plazo que provoquen nueva actividad de inversión, así como propuestas de mediano plazo que ayuden a reconstruir las instituciones económicas, fortalecer la gobernanza pública, e identificar apuestas estratégicas en sectores particulares de la economía de Puerto Rico.
  6. Finalmente, si el Congreso no está dispuesto o no puede actuar, entonces debe permitir que Puerto Rico legisle su propio marco legal para reestructurar la deuda. Seguir posponiendo una reestructuración necesaria de la deuda solo provocará la destrucción del valor de la inversión de los bonistas y niveles más bajos de recobro. Más aún, continuar con un proceso legal desordenado y plagado de incertidumbre, con numerosos litigios de acreedores, deprimirá aún más la economía local, aumentará los costos de la reestructuración y hará más difícil de alcanzar la recuperación económica en el largo plazo.

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Policy Brief: Possible Consequences of a Default on Puerto Rico General Obligation Bonds

In this policy brief CNE (1) provides a succinct summary of the current situation in Puerto Rico and (2) describes some of the possible consequences of a Puerto Rico default on its General Obligation bonds (“GO”) and other government guaranteed debt.

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What A Debt Default Would Look Like Without Chapter 9 (related documents)

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As the clock ticks for Puerto Rico, what would a debt default look like without the recourse of Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code? With all probability, players will face years of nonpayment, an utterly complex maze of claims and counterclaims, protracted litigation, and a myriad of open, unresolved legal questions.

In the following paper, CNE analyzes Puerto Rico’s “insanely convoluted” debt structure, and finds that very few players will benefit from the chaos of a disorderly default. We will detail some of the consequences of a default on Puerto Rico’s debt and consider some of the principal arguments in favor of allowing Puerto Rico to avail itself of the debt restructuring process under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Scroll down for the following documents:
– Puerto Rico Debt: A Survey of the Landscape- Introduction[1]
– Puerto Rico Debt Analysis[2]
– Executive Summary: Puerto Rico Debt Analysis[3]
– Resumen Ejecutivo: La estructura de la deuda[4]
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Testimony before the US Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee

What follows is Sergio Marxuach’s testimony before the United States’ Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015. The Committee hearing addressed Puerto Rico’s economy, debt and options for Congress.
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Puerto Rico’s Indebted Power Utility Adds to Island’s Problems

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority must repay $146 million over the next two months for a credit line used to buy oil to generate electricity.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority must repay $146 million over the next two months for a credit line used to buy oil to generate electricity. Credit Dennis M. Rivera-Pichardo for The New York Times

Puerto Rico’s electrical utility is running out of money and time to negotiate a deal with its lenders, part of a broad reckoning for an island that relies on Wall Street to finance some of its most basic functions.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority must repay $146 million to Citigroup over the next two months for a credit line used to buy oil to generate electricity. It is also uncertain whether the authority will be able to renew a $550 million credit line from Scotiabank for fuel purchases, people briefed on the matter said.

With the power authority’s lenders growing increasingly skittish, analysts and investors expect the utility will be forced to restructure its debts to avoid crippling power shortages for Puerto Rico’s 3.6 million residents.

The likelihood of a restructuring increased after Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla hurriedly signed a new law into effect over the weekend allowing public corporations like the power authority to seek protection similar to what bankruptcy provides. Representatives for Citigroup and Scotiabank declined to comment.

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Puerto Rico Faces $940 Million Bill as Debt Is Cut to Junk

S&P dropped the territory to BB+, the highest speculative grade, on Feb. 4 because of limited access to capital markets as officials struggle to revive a shrinking economy. Moody’s today lowered it to Ba2, one step below S&P’s score. The moves trigger accelerated payments on debt and calls for increased collateral on swaps. Almost half may need to be arranged within 30 days, said David Hitchcock, an S&P analyst.

While S&P said its new rating reflects the assessment that Puerto Rico can handle its immediate cash needs, the island may have to pay the full amount out of a $9.77 billion budget already in deficit if it can’t alter the terms of the swaps agreements or refinance the debt. Officials are trying to renegotiate the transactions and also sell the first bonds from the commonwealth since August, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said on Feb. 5.

“If we don’t have access to the markets or if we can only borrow at very high yields, then we may have to make the payments,” said Sergio Marxuach, policy director at Center for a New Economy, a not-for-profit research group in San Juan that focuses on economic development. “We may not have the option of rolling over the debt,” he said in an interview from the island’s capital. READ MORE

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