Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello announced he will resign in early August after weeks of public protests over recently revealed homophobic and sexist messages Rossello sent government officials. His chief of staff as already resigned and Rossello has also resigned from his position as president of the new Progressive Party.
The massive city-wide protests erupted earlier this month in response to a series of messages in a group chat between governor Rossello and his inner circle. The remarks made in private were homophobic and misogynistic in nature with crude language and comments that jokingly mocked the victims of Hurricane Maria. This came after recent corruption related arrests of high-profile government officials.
Puerto Rico’s politics have long been dominated by the governor’s Progressive Party and this recent published transcript has forced the people of Puerto Rico to rethink the administration elected to serve their best interests. The frustration and recent tumultuous atmosphere of Puerto Rico comes out of the decade long disconnect between government officials and the common people. Protesters want the immediate resignation of Rossello and want to get rid of the unelected oversight board created by Congress aimed at managing the finances of the island’s government.
Grievances have been building as the quality of life after Hurricane Maria deteriorates drastically for many people. The US territory’s economic recession has forced employers to lay off workers while public services are being cut off. Many schools are forced to shut down, tuition are rising, and the island’s government has failed to help rebuild communities that are still suffering the debilitating effects of Hurricane Maria.
Media Resources: CNN 06/24/19, NYT 06/18/19, NYT 06/19/19