(Reuters) – A number of U.S. Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers on Friday demanded Puerto Rico’s governor step down over offensive chat messages, as hundreds on the Caribbean island staged a seventh day of protests to hunt his resignation.
Banging pots and pans and chanting “Ricky Resign!,” Puerto Ricans streamed into San Juan’s outdated metropolis on Friday night time and known as on Ricardo Rossello to stop over the misogynistic and homophobic messages.
The chats, from a Telegram message group and referring primarily to politicians and officers, have been printed on Saturday.
The leak, working to 889 pages, added to Rossello’s woes after two former officers have been arrested by the FBI final week as a part of a federal corruption probe within the U.S. territory.
The protests have additionally tapped into simmering resentment over Rossello’s dealing with of devastating hurricanes in 2017 and alleged corruption as Puerto Rico’s fragile financial system struggles to get better from the island’s chapter.
U.S. Consultant Tulsi Gabbard joined the protests in San Juan, saying she wished to “stand as much as corruption,” as different Democratic presidential candidates together with Julian Castro and Elizabeth Warren additionally known as for Rossello to stop.
“We should stand with la isla. Rossello should resign,” tweeted U.S. Consultant Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, whose mom was born in Puerto Rico.
The island’s nonvoting consultant within the U.S. Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez, earlier known as for his resignation, whereas Rossello’s press secretary Dennise Perez resigned, saying she might now not maintain the place after she was known as corrupt in entrance of her son.
“It’s your flip, Ricky,” protesters chanted on the road after phrase unfold that Perez had stepped apart.
Rossello, who’s affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Get together, has refused to step down however mentioned he would maintain an emergency assembly with leaders of Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Get together, which he leads.
Puerto Rico Home Speaker Carlos Mendez on Friday introduced the creation of an unbiased committee to find out whether or not the center-right politician engaged in criminal activity within the chats. The group has ten days to ship its findings.
The island’s bar affiliation printed a report citing clear grounds to question the 40-year-old former scientist, based mostly on the “depravity” of his messages.
The chats, revealed by Puerto Rico’s Heart for Investigative Journalism, confirmed how Rossello and allies exchanged vulgar memes and feedback in addition to privileged info.
Whereas opposition legislators again impeachment, the method has but to realize crucial help from lawmakers in Rossello’s ruling social gathering.
However politicians like Gonzalez are more and more involved about Puerto Rico’s “anarchic” picture after clashes in San Juan this week and allegations the 2 administration officers arrested by the FBI stole authorities funds.
The violence and political turmoil comes at a crucial stage within the U.S. territory’s chapter course of. It has additionally raised considerations with U.S. lawmakers who’re weighing the island’s requests for billions of federal for healthcare and hurricane restoration efforts.
“The island can not afford to lose already accredited federal assets, nor those we’re working to acquire,” Gonzalez mentioned in her letter to Rossello urging him to step apart.
Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico, and Karen Pierog and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Further reporting by Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan; Enhancing by Richard Chang and John Stonestreet