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Governor of Puerto Rico: Calls for resignation intensify after leaked private chats



On Sunday, a man called over a microphone, "We'll kick you out," as other demonstrators filling the street in front of the Governor's Mansion in Old San Juan sang, "Ricky steps back!"

Protesters claim to feel disrespected and deceived. Many believe that the chats point to corruption and that the governor has violated their confidence, they say.

The Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of private group chat by telegram.

The exchange between the governor and his inner circle reveals a vindictive approach to governance – including attacking journalists by discrediting stories and threatening to hand over political opponents to the police.

  Police block the road on Sunday leading to the governor's mansion.

Among the comments are derogatory provisions against women – especially the former spokeswoman for the New York City Council, Melissa Mark – Viverito – and homophobic remarks against singer Ricky Martin.

While discussing the Federal Council responsible for tackling the financial crisis in Puerto Rico, Rosselló wrote: "Dear Board, hurry."

Christian Sobrino Vega, then CFO of Puerto Rico and representative of Roselló in the Federal Council, expressed frustration over Carmen Yulín, mayor of San Juan Cruz, saying he wanted to shoot her.

"You would do me a great favor," the governor replied, following the leaked chats.

Yulín Cruz is a member of the opposition People's Party and is a governor.

Sobrino Vega and Foreign Minister Luis Rivera Marin, who also participated in the chats, have resigned.

Rosselló said he will not resign.

"Despite the difficulties we have internally and externally, the work will continue and set the agenda in all areas, in the areas of social, education, security, health, infrastructure, recreation and in all areas related to the financial situation related, completed priority among other things, "he said.

"They are not giving up work that has already begun, and today more than ever my commitment counts."

Roselló's office did not respond to a CNN request for an interview.

  Ricardo Roselló, Governor of Puerto Rico, says he will not resign.

The leaks came the same week, when FBI officials arrested two former officials from Rosselló's administration as part of a federal corruption investigation.

Education Minister Julia Keleher and Angela Avila Marrero, managing director of the island's health insurance administration, resigned prior to their arrest.

Puerto Rican-based Commissioner Jenniffer González, the non-voting representative of American territory in the US Congress, also mocked in a group discussion, said the governor's apologies were not enough.

Carlos Johnny Méndez, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico A member of Rosselló's New Progressive Party told a local radio show on Monday morning that he had contacted the governor and withdrew his support.

"There are many problems to solve, and we can not have these distractions," he said.

The Puerto Rican Senator Aníbal José Torres, leader of the Democratic People's Party, called for an investigation and stated that the chats involve ethical and criminal violations.

Many on the island are concerned about the scandal that threatens aid to the most vulnerable people who are trying to rebuild their lives almost two years after the devastation of the island by hurricane Maria.

In April, President Donald Trump described the politicians of Puerto Rico in a tweet as "incompetent or corrupt." He added, "Puerto Rico has far more money than Texas and Florida together, but its government can not do anything right, the place is a mess."

Anthony Maceira, who also participated in the chats, told CNN on Sunday that he had no control over Trump's comments.

"We know we are facing challenges, but we believe we are already working to address them," he said.

In the case of Rosselló's resignation, the currently vacant foreign minister is at the top, followed by the treasurer of the island.

As for the Puerto Rican diaspora, the thousands of people who moved to the US after Hurricane Maria are being watched from a distance.

Some, including Mark-Viverito, the former spokesman for the New York City Council, whom the governor insulted, traveled to the island to join the protesters who demanded the governor's resignation.

In Washington DC, a Tuesday protest is planned in front of the building of the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story mistakenly referred to the US territory of Puerto Rico as a land.


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