Photo: David Begnaud/Twitter

Puerto Rico Rocked by Protests Demanding the Governor’s Resignation

by Eben Diskin Jul 22, 2019

The governor of Puerto Rico is under immense pressure from citizens as thousands are marching in the streets demanding his resignation. Leaked messages between Governor Ricardo Rossello and top aides included homophobic slurs and insults about victims of the 2017 Hurricane Maria, and people want him out of office immediately.

Footage has shown trains full of protestors headed to the capital of San Juan, with many protestors blocking highways and chanting “Ricky resign.” Experts have already predicted that the crowd sizes will be the largest in the history of Puerto Rico.

Many politicians, including several 2020 presidential candidates, have appeared in Puerto Rico to offer support and show solidarity, and several Puerto Rican celebrities have also voiced their support.

President Trump, who has his own difficult past with Puerto Rican citizens following his response to Hurricane Maria, recently called Rossello a terrible governor. He told White House reporters, “You have totally grossly incompetent leadership at the top of Puerto Rico. The leadership is corrupt and incompetent.”

In a Facebook video, Rossello acknowledged, “I have made mistakes and I have apologized. I know that apologizing is not enough… I’m aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort they feel. Only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors.”

The governor has even offered to step down as the leader of the New Progressive Party and promised to not seek re-election, but that’s not enough for protestors. El Nuevo Dia, the island’s largest newspaper, printed in an editorial, “Puerto Rico has spoken up, not only as a strong, broad and united voice, but as the right voice. With a gesture of nobility and humility, Governor, it is time to listen to the people. You have to resign.”

Those with current vacation plans to Puerto Rico need not be deterred from visiting. The protests are largely centered around San Juan, but the rest of the island is mostly undisturbed. Though visitors should expect traffic and large crowds upon arriving at the airport. But unless you are interested in experiencing a historical time in Puerto Rico first-hand, it is probably not the best time to stay in San Juan.


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