The Americas

Gov: Puerto Rico braces for lawsuits as major default looms

Puerto Rico's governor says the U.S. territory is bracing for multiple lawsuits as a major default over a bond payment looms.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla says he hopes judges take Puerto Rico's economic and humanitarian crisis into account when ruling on the anticipated lawsuits.

Garcia said Friday he has warned since last year that the government cannot afford to make a $470 million bond payment due Sunday.

The island is in a decade-long economic slump and facing a $70 billion public debt load that Garcia says is unpayable and needs restructuring.

U.S. legislators have delayed approving a bill that would provide Puerto Rico with a debt-restructuring mechanism. Garcia recently signed a law that allows him to declare a debt moratorium.