SAN JUAN – Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Puerto Rico on Monday, where he planned to address the island’s fiscal woes and “humanitarian crisis.”
The Vermont senator began the day by meeting privately with various prominent Puerto Ricans at the Luis Muñoz Marin Foundation, where he subsequently addressed a crowd of about 250 people.
“Puerto Rico must be given the time it needs to grow its economy, create jobs, reduce the poverty rate, and expand its tax base so that it can pay back its debt in a way that is fair and that is just,” Sanders said.
The Puerto Rican government defaulted at the start of this month on more than $400 million in debt.
“We have got to understand that Puerto Rico’s $70 billion in debt is unsustainable. And the reason it is unsustainable has everything to do with the greed of Wall Street vulture funds,” Sanders said.
The Puerto Rico Democratic primary is June 5.
Though Puerto Ricans living on the island cannot vote in presidential elections, they can cast ballots in the primaries.
Former President Bill Clinton is expected to visit Puerto Rico next week to campaign for his wife, Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.