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Blame Wall Street for Puerto Rico crisis: Activist

Wall Street and Congress are, in part, to blame for Puerto Rico's debt crisis, the president and CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition said Monday.

The island was set to default on a $389 million debt payment to bondholders Monday.

"Let's be real here, Puerto Rico is in an economic, unstable situation in its relationship with the United States. And that is Congress, how Congress decided to build this relationship with Puerto Rico," Rafael Fantauzzi said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

A barman serves a customer as Alejandro Garcia Padilla, governor of Puerto Rico, is seen giving a speech on a television screen in a bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Erika P. Rodriguez | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A barman serves a customer as Alejandro Garcia Padilla, governor of Puerto Rico, is seen giving a speech on a television screen in a bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He also pointed to hedge funds that own Puerto Rican debt, noting that some of them also own Argentinian debt.

"Guess what — they waited 10 years and they got their pay off. But Puerto Rico is a very, very, very different situation."

However, municipal bond investor Hector Negroni, co-CEO of Fundamental Credit Opportunities, called blaming creditors for Puerto Rico's situation "a little appalling."

"Our entire marketplace rests upon the rule of law and faith in governments to perform, to live within their means and to make amends to creditors when they fall short," he told "Power Lunch."

Negroni noted the island has done little to reform and fix its "obese" government.

Former Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno agreed the latest crisis could have been averted, and said he would not have defaulted Monday.

"Puerto Rico has to take responsibility for its actions," he said on "Power Lunch."

Fantauzzi said believes the government will make the right cuts and insists it is taking responsibility.