SAN JUAN (Reuters) – Tons of of hundreds of individuals marched in San Juan on Monday to demand Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resign over offensive chat messages, the newest scandal to hit a bankrupt island struggling to get better from 2017 hurricanes.
Rosselló’s announcement on Sunday that he wouldn’t search re-election subsequent 12 months and would step down as head of the New Progressive Social gathering did not appease the crowds, who referred to as for him to right away give up the governorship. The island’s largest newspaper referred to as on the first-term governor to depart workplace and reported over 500,000 protesters took to the streets in San Juan. Reuters was not capable of confirm the gang measurement and police weren’t instantly obtainable for remark.
President Donald Trump additionally blasted the 40-year-old governor, who’s affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Social gathering.
“He’s a horrible governor,” Trump mentioned on the White Home on Monday, after feuding with Rosselló in 2017 over the pace and scale of the federal response to Hurricane Maria. “You have got completely grossly incompetent management on the prime of Puerto Rico.”
In San Juan, demonstrators wearing black T-shirts crammed the town’s largest freeway and marched within the pouring rain with celebrities like Ricky Martin and Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee within the tenth day of generally violent protests.
“In Puerto Rico we don’t comply with dictators. It’s time so that you can go,” a drenched Martin, 47, the goal of homophobic messages in Rossello’s chats, instructed cheering crowds.
“Despacito” singer Daddy Yankee was amongst protesters who headed to San Juan’s previous metropolis the place they demonstrated in entrance of police and orange plastic limitations close to the governor’s official residence, a mansion often known as “The Fortress.”
As crowds chanted “Ricky Resign!” tv photos confirmed some protesters carrying machetes with the Puerto Rican flag painted on them.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, an opposition politician working for governor in 2020, mentioned Rosselló had run out of time.
“The nation can’t put up with anymore of this,” Yulin Cruz mentioned in a video posted from the march, sporting a black T-shirt with the message “The facility is on the street.”
Rosselló on Monday once more requested Puerto Ricans to offer him one other likelihood.
“I used phrases that I apologized for however I’ve additionally taken vital actions within the path of serving to weak sectors,” Rosselló instructed Fox Information, explaining he had made coverage adjustments vital to ladies and the LGBTQ neighborhood.
These two teams had been frequent targets of misogynistic and homophobic messages exchanged between Rosselló and prime aides in 889 pages of on-line group chats printed July 13 by Puerto Rico’s Middle for Investigative Journalism.
The crass messages confirmed a political elite intent on sustaining energy on an island the place folks nonetheless reside underneath blue tarpaulins two years after hurricanes ripped roofs off their properties and killed over three,000 folks.
Protests have introduced collectively Puerto Ricans from completely different political events, and none-political islanders to vent anger at alleged corruption within the administration and its dealing with of hurricane restoration efforts.
Puerto Rico’s non-voting consultant to the U.S. Congress Jenniffer González, seen as a attainable candidate for governor, in addition to a string of Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers have referred to as for Rosselló to step apart.
Puerto Rico Home Speaker Carlos Mendez, a part of Rosselló’s New Progressive Social gathering, appointed an unbiased panel on Friday to research whether or not the chats warranted impeachment.
The political turmoil comes at a important stage within the island’s chapter because it tries to restructure some $120 billion in debt and pension obligations.
It has additionally raised considerations amongst U.S. lawmakers who’re weighing the island’s requests for billions of federal for healthcare and work to get better from Hurricane Maria.
Reporting by Marco Bello; Extra reporting by Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan, Karen Pierog in Chicago, Zach Fagenson in Miami, Wealthy McKay in Atlanta, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Peter Szekeley and Jonathan Allen in New York; writing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay; modifying by Jonathan Oatis, Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker