Puerto Rico Protests Draw Thousands

By: Katie Cherrix

Monday, July 22, 2019, San Juan, Puerto Rico- Twelve days of unrest in Puerto Rico led to an unprecedented protest in the streets of San Juan Monday morning. Thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets after leaked conversations between Governor Ricardo Rosselló revealed homophobic and misogynistic verbiage.

According to Angel Rosa, a Political Science professor at the University of Puerto Rico, the 900 pages of text “offended almost every group on the island.” Protesters say that these messages are just one small piece of the puzzle. They view their government as corrupt; this was the final straw for many protestors like Maristella Gross.

Sunday, the Puerto Rican governor announced that he wouldn’t be running for reelection but refuses to resign. He has, however, announced his resignation as President of the Progressive Party. Rosselló says, “I leave aside any personal interest by not running for re-election to the governorship next year.” This wasn’t enough to dissuade the crowds from their anger; Puerto Ricans are looking for a full resignation, and it seems they won’t be deterred until they see him step down.

The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, believes that the governor’s concession only added fuel to the fire. City Hall is well prepared for the fallout of these protests; emergency medical stations are up and ready to treat protestors who get tear- gassed, cut, or shot.

Rosselló is only at the halfway mark in his four-year term. His refusal to resign has led to talks of impeachment. Singer Ricky Martin vowed to rejoin the protests this Monday, as he was attacked in Rosselló’s messages. The singer called out the governor for harming the mental health of Puerto Rican citizens and believes that impeachment is the only consequence for the governor’s behavior.

An impeachment committee has been established; three attorneys will work over ten days to determine whether or not the governor’s actions are grounds for impeachment. A two-thirds vote from the House and the Senate is needed to formally impeach Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

Citizens of Puerto Rico are still feeling the heat from 2017’s hurricane Maria. Protestors say they aren’t leaving until Rosselló is gone; they are fed up with the corruption, and they want to see change soon.

Kayla Pasacreta