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By the Numbers: Puerto Rico, Debt Crisis

  • VOA News

FIL E - Protesters express their opposition to the fact the the Federal Reserve bank bailed out Wall Street but not Puerto Rico outside International House, in New York, April 7, 2016.

FIL E - Protesters express their opposition to the fact the the Federal Reserve bank bailed out Wall Street but not Puerto Rico outside International House, in New York, April 7, 2016.

At issue: Puerto Rico's government will not make nearly $370 million in bond payments due Monday after a failure to restructure or find a political solution to its spiraling public debt crisis.

Bailout vs. restructure: Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla says he does not want a bailout but simply legal ability to restructure existing debt.

Sticking point: However, for that to happen, the U.S. territory needs Congress in Washington, D.C., to act. So far, it has not.

What's next: Puerto Rico expects multiple lawsuits to be filed shortly after Monday's default. The island nation also faces a July 1 deadline, when about $2 billion in principle and interest payments come due.

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

What it is: Unincorporated, organized territory of the United States with commonwealth status

Where: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic

Size: 13,791 square kilometers

Capital: San Juan

Population: 3.5 million total; nearly 2.5 million live in San Juan

History: Italian explorer Christopher Columbus claimed Puerto Rico for Spain in 1493; colony was won by the U.S. in Spanish-American War of 1898; eventually was given a type of U.S. local government with a legislature and governor.

U.S. ties: Most governmental issues handled by U.S. Interior Department.

Voting status: Natives have American citizenship but cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections if they are Puerto Rico residents. They can vote in U.S. primary elections.

Sources: CIA: The World Factbook, Reuters, AP

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