The streets flooded with thousands of residents in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday. The people of Puerto Rico screaming with rage, “we don’t want him!”Implying the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, in what appears to be the island’s most massive protest in recent history. Even despite the heavy rain, no one was discouraged from making their voices heard chanting, “Ricky, renuncia!” It has been named the “March of the People,” that has the San Juan metropolitan area on pause, along with the nerve center of the island’s main shopping, banking, and commercial districts. The crowd included teachers, families, a community of hearing-impaired people, truck drivers, as well as Puerto Rican artists like Ricky Martin and René Pérez Joglar. They all were seen carrying signs and chanting, “Ricky, renuncia!” Other Puerto Rican celebrities supporting the protests consisted of former MLB player Carlos Delgado, Olympic medalist Jaime Espinal, actress Karla Monroig, and boxing champion Félix “Tito” Trinidad, as well as musicians like Ednita Nazario, Bad Bunny, Kany García, Pedro Capó, Guayana and Olga Tañón. Everyone is determined to have their voices heard it is a cry out for all Puerto Ricans, and we must unite as one and persevere against what is happening here.
Rosselló had declared on Facebook that he is reluctant to step down as governor, even after an estimated 900 pages of private chats set off a scandal on the island. The conversations revealed profanity-laced, misogynistic and homophobic comments as well as barbed and cynical remarks about various topics, including jokes about deaths due to Hurricane Maria in 2017.
In an interview on Fox News on Monday Rosselló defended his decision to stay as governor. Asserting that “there’s another effort that needs to move forward, which is the battling of corruption.”On Monday, President Trump spoke to reporters and falsely claimed that the island had received $92 billion of post-hurricane aid but that it has been wasted by the “corrupt” and “incompetent” leadership.”The people of Puerto Rico like me, and they should because no one has given them what I give them.”Trump added.
A group of medical students who attended the march said they’re protesting due to locals who are unable to get necessary medical services at hospitals there. The “government is so corrupt,” and that the money needed to meet the needs of the people “go straight into politicians’ pockets.”
Mark-Viverito told Telemundo, “I can’t imagine a scenario where the governor can go knock on Washington’s door and effectively move any agenda for Puerto Rico forward, the people can’t suffer the consequences of a corrupt administration.” Melissa Mark-Viverito, former N.Y. Council speaker and president of Latino Victory call what’s happening in Puerto Rico “is not sustainable.”Rosselló had referred to Mark-Viverito as a “whore” in the chats.
One woman who drove over an hour to attend the protest stated that “This is so much more than the chat, there has been rampant corruption, and we need a chance, and we need the governor to resign.”
Puerto Rico House Rep. Dennis Márquez introduced a recommendation of impeachment against Rosselló, pointing out 18 possible crimes that have been brought to light from the leaked chats.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees Puerto Rican affairs in Congress. Stated Rosselló’s refusal to step down does “not create the necessary space in Washington to advance necessary measures that benefit the residents of Puerto Rico.”Including “The residents of Puerto Rico are using their power and holding their elected officials accountable for this alleged corruption and shameful behavior. This is an opportunity for the federal government to work closely with municipalities and Puerto Rico’s civil society to achieve meaningful reconstruction.”
Island and federal authorities are currently undergoing investigations into accusations of corruption and conflicts of interest involved in the Rosselló administration. Carlos Méndez Núñez Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives is expected to hear from lawyers to see whether or not an impeachment process can be initiated. The investigation will look into the private chats between the governor and some of his current and former officials, including, close associates to determine any possible conflicts of interest or law violations.