More than 50 activists gathered at Yale Thursday night to demand that the university stop investing in one of Puerto Rico’s biggest creditors. The U.S. territory is entering a form of federal bankruptcy.
Julio Lopez Varona leads a group called Hedge Clippers that’s protesting large companies that they say are trying to profit off of Puerto Rico’s troubles.
Varona says that Yale is investing in Baupost Group, which wants the island to settle debts as it struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“The pattern of investors in Puerto Rico over the last ten years has been a pattern of you give Puerto Rico terrible debt, uh, you push Puerto Rico to pay and when Puerto Rico cannot pay, they push terrible austerity measures.”
Varona says that means the island had to close schools and hospitals, and neglect infrastructure.
Other attendees included people who were displaced by Maria and are now living in Hartford hotels and with hosts. Pedro Bermudez is one of them. He says conditions were bad in Puerto Rico before the storm.
“We want to think that Maria brought us here, but it’s not the truth. It’s the economic conditions of the island. Even if we didn’t have Hurricane Maria, we would be here.”
Bermudez says creditors should not be asking the bankrupt island to settle debts while it struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Activitists sent letters to 13 universities asking them to divest from Puerto Rico’s creditors last fall. Yale replied two weeks ago, saying its investment complies with its ethics guidelines.