Gov. Ricardo Rossello, the embattled leader of Puerto Rico, resigned after weeks of protests and several statements he will keep in office until January 2021.
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Rossello, under heavy pressure from demonstrators and politicians to resign after insulting text messages had surfaced between the governor and his top aides, made the announcement in a livestream message late Wednesday.
His resignation will take effect on 2 August at 1
He and his associates are charged with making homophobic, misogynist and sexist statements against opponents and critics, and deriding victims of hurricane Maria.
In a detailed communication, Rossello referred to his government's achievements in infrastructure and corruption reform and LGBT rights. He also pointed to the challenges facing the island after the hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Justice Minister Wanda Vazquez becomes the next governor of Puerto Rico.
"I understand that he made the right decision, for the benefit of his family and for Puerto Rico, as I told him," Vazquez said in a statement. "He just announced that this resignation will not be effective today and we will work together to achieve a responsible and transparent transition process."
The streets of San Juan have been filled with demonstrators for the last 11 days. Tens of thousands of people turned into massive protests Monday, causing the police to fire tear gas at some late-night demonstrators.
The governor's resignation took place after Rossello's chief of staff Ricardo Llerandi announced his resignation on Tuesday, which will come into force on July 31. Llerandi was one of the two government officials who survived the shots after releasing nearly 900 pages of telegram group chats that caused outcry.
"People have spoken," said Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan, one of the targets of Rossello's vulgar chats to ABC News. "Justice has prevailed, the Puerto Ricans have shown the world that there is nothing a people can not achieve, the Puerto Ricans have shown the world that evil can be defeated and power is on the streets the birth of a new people. " Era a new sense of pride and a new principle of governance. Today, I am more proud than ever to be a Puerto Rican. "
The demonstrators made it clear that their desired resignation was Rossello's. Three days before his announcement, the governor stated in a video address that he would not resign in the face of protests but would not seek re-election in 2020.
He also resigned as leader of the New Progressive Party. The announcement had the opposite of its intended effect: the following day, there were flocks of demonstrators.
Reports of the possible resignation of Rossello have cheered hundreds of demonstrators on Tuesday night, but the official announcement does not come for 24 hours.
"We want a government that truly represents us, that works for the people of Puerto Rico, not for their own benefit and for the benefit of their own friends," protester Daphne Lebron told ABC News on Monday.
Almost 900 pages of text messages were received by the Puerto Rican Center for Investigative Journalism and published on July 13. Among the chats, Rossello and his co-workers used homophobic bows as they discussed Puerto Rican musician Ricky Martin and the vilified mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulin Cruz as "from their medications" and said he "saliva" to shoot them the former spokeswoman for the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, as a "whore" and joked about the bodies that piled up during Hurricane Maria.
Since then there are daily protests.