Pressure mounts for resignation of Puerto Rico governor

World Today

Demonstrators march on Las Americas highway demanding the resignation of governor Ricardo Rossello, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, July 22, 2019. Protesters are demanding Rossello step down for his involvement in a private chat in which he used profanities to describe an ex-New York City councilwoman and a federal control board overseeing the island’s finance. (AP Photo/Gianfranco Gaglione)

The pressure is mounting in Puerto Rico. Tens-of-thousands jammed the streets in front of the Governor’s residence.

For 10 days, they’ve been demanding the resignation of Ricardo Rossello.

They’re calling for an end to the culture of corruption that has mired the island in debt. CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports from San Juan.

Hundreds of thousands took part – taking control of the main highway to drive their message home. They have one simple demand – the governor must go.

“We are against all these indignant actions of Ricky Rosello, his government and the U.S. imposed fiscal board. Everybody is taking advantage of Puerto Rico. We are fed up,” protester Samory Bermudez said.

This is the tenth protest – and the largest by far – coming 10 days after hundreds of pages of offensive online chats between Rossello and close advisors were leaked to local media. The messages were filled with obscenities, contempt for women, homosexuals and even jokes about hurricane victims.

It’s a scandal that appeared to have pushed this stressed and struggling population to say ‘enough.’ Residents are still trying to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, bankruptcy, a $70 billion debt they can’t pay, austerity measures and corruption.

“I want my children to know the country I grew up in, a sincere nation, people that loved their homeland, that valued their norms and respected its laws, but now we are living in a country that doesn’t value any of that. We’ve been disrespected as Puerto Rican people,” protester Marilyn Quinones said.

Even other leaders of Rossello’s own pro-statehood party asked the governor to step down.

On Sunday, the island’s governor announced that he would resign as the president of his party and that he would not seek reelection in 2020, but that didn’t appease the protesters, instead, it angered them even more.

“This goes beyond because we have been disrespected and sneered. A governor is someone that is supposed to have the respect of all the Puerto Rican people, this one doesn’t have it,” protester Willie Berrios said.

Ten days and ten protests have so far failed to move Puerto Rico’s governor to resign, Rossello vowed again Monday to stay in office and face impeachment – even as crowds paralyzed parts of the capital.

But many islanders dug in, vowing to keep venting their anger and frustration until the governor is gone.