(Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s governor on Sunday mentioned he wouldn’t search re-election subsequent yr however refused to resign because the island braced for extra protests by demonstrators demanding he step down over leaked chat messages.
A day earlier than a deliberate basic strike and road demonstrations within the bankrupt U.S. territory, Ricardo Rossello, 40, mentioned he revered the desires of Puerto Ricans and wouldn’t search a second time period in November 2020 elections.
He additionally mentioned he would resign as head of the New Progressive Occasion (PNP) however would stay as governor till the top of his time period in January, 2021.
“I do know that apologizing is just not sufficient,” Rossello mentioned in a video posted on Fb. “A major sector of the inhabitants has been protesting for days. I’m conscious of the dissatisfaction and discomfort they really feel. Solely my work will assist restore the belief of those sectors and paved the way to actual reconciliation.”
His feedback drew outrage from the numerous Puerto Ricans, with movies on social media exhibiting San Juan residents leaning out of condo home windows banging pots and pans in a 3rd day of so-called “cacerolazo” protests.
The July 13 publication of offensive chat messages between Rossello and high aides has unleashed simmering resentment over his dealing with of devastating 2017 hurricanes, alleged corruption in his administration and the island’s chapter course of.
“‘#Resign Ricky isn’t only a name for him to resign from the get together, however from his seat as the highest official,” tweeted Linda Michelle, an industrial engineer and Puerto Rico radio persona. “Whoever wasn’t certain about going to the march tomorrow has now made up their thoughts to go.”
Puerto Rico’s non-voting consultant to the U.S. Congress, in addition to Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers have known as for the governor to step apart after 9 days of typically violent protests.
“As soon as once more: Rosselló should resign,” tweeted U.S. Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to his video.
However Puerto Rico’s Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, a member of the pro-statehood PNP, mentioned Rossello’s actions “put an finish to a part of the controversies and trauma hitting our folks” and his ruling get together now needed to rebuild confidence of their management.
Within the on-line chats revealed by Puerto Rico’s Middle for Investigative Journalism, the center-right governor and his high allies referred to politicians, celebrities and extraordinary Puerto Ricans in misogynistic, homophobic and offensive phrases.
The speaker of Puerto Rico’s home of representatives appointed an unbiased panel on Friday to analyze whether or not the chats warranted impeachment and gave it 10 days to ship a report.
“I’ve to respect the constitutional order and welcome the method began by the legislative meeting,” Rossello mentioned within the video.
The most recent unrest comes at a vital stage within the U.S. territory’s chapter course of because it tries to restructure round $120 billion in debt and pension obligations.
It has additionally raised issues 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, which led to just about three,000 deaths.
Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Extra reporting by Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Modifying by Peter Cooney, Dan Grebler and Daniel Wallis