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Home / World / The Fall of the Governor of Puerto Rico: A Timeline

The Fall of the Governor of Puerto Rico: A Timeline



An SMS scandal with Rosselló triggered massive protests against the US government for nearly two weeks after years of alleged corruption, a debt crisis and Hurricane Maria. The following events led to his resignation:

Two former officials from Puerto Rico, the island's education ministry and head of health insurance administration, were arrested on corruption charges. They were accused of having directed million-euro government contracts to politically-linked contractors.

. 11 July

Following the arrests, the governor returned home from a previously-planned family vacation outside US territory. Only a handful of messages from a private telegram chat have been leaked to his inner circle. He apologized for referring to a former New York official who described these messages in detail.

"I apologize for the expressions I wrote in a private chat," Rosselló told reporters. "I am the governor of Puerto Rico, but I am also human with my mistakes and virtues."
  Gov. Ricardo Rosselló apologized for the language he used in leaked news.

More Leaked Chats, Unrest

July 13

The Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico published nearly 900 pages and offensive private chat messages between Rosselló and members of his inner circle. Telegram's messaging app ridiculed scores of politicians, journalists, and celebrities in a scandal many called the governor's nickname "RickyLeaks." The news was sent in December 2018 and January 2019.

Two Cabinet members who participated in the chats, Puerto Rico's former Chief Financial Officer Sobrino Vega and Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin, resigned.

  Crowds flooded the streets of Puerto Rico Old San Juan with Puerto Rican flags and signs labeled

July 14

Before Rosselló's official residence, known as La Fortaleza, protests increased after the leaked texts had been published. The demonstrators called Rosselló to resign.

July 15

Police fired tear gas into the crowd of demonstrators calling for his fall.

  Protesters who filled the street in front of the governor's mansion in Old San Juan clashed with the police.

Governor apologizes but does not resign

July 16

Rosselló announced that he would not resign , In a press conference he also defended the actions of the police and accused the protesters of releasing tear gas and setting fire to themselves at demonstrations the night before.

"I will continue my work and responsibilities to the people of Puerto Rico," the governor told reporters.

  Rosselló called for a press conference after police clashed with demonstrators hours after the police clashed with demonstrators.

Celebrities join in protests

July 17

Puerto Rico's Ministry of Justice issued summonses for all who involved in the private chat group with Rosselló.

  Ricky Martin pans a small Puerto Rican flag as he joins the protest in Puerto Rico.
The Latin-trap-artist Bad Bunny left his European tour and participated in protests in San Juan. Ricky Martin, the rapper Residente and iLe also marched with hundreds of people from the Capitol in Puerto Rico to the governor's house.
Bad Bunny, Residente and iLe released a protest anthem, "Afilando los Cuchillos" ("Sharpening the Knives") Youtube. "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, also mentioned in the chats, is attending a parallel protest in New York City.
  As the protests continued, protesters clashed with police in the streets of Old San Juan.

Once again, the officials used tear gas to push back the demonstrators during a fierce battle outside the governor's house.

July 18

Rosselló tweeted a statement declaring that he respected people's right to protest and that their actions had "not gone unnoticed". He also asked for forgiveness from the Puerto Rican people.

July 19

The President of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, Carlos "Johnny" Méndez, set up a special committee to advise him whether the governor was punishable by the leaked embassies ,

July 21

Rosselló announced that he will not run for reelection in 2020 and resigned from his role as president of the New Progressive Party.

] "A lot of the population is unhappy and I recognize it," said Rosselló on Facebook Live. "I have heard you, I love the island and the people … Today I have the responsibility to direct my energies to seek alternatives so that we can progress with God."

Unrest intensifies

July 22

Hundreds of thousands of people closed an important highway in San Juan and launched a strike across the island calling for Rosselló's resignation ,
  An aerial view of a drone showing thousands of people filling the Expreso Las Américas highway in San Juan.

There were protests for about a week, but protesters said they would not rest until Rosselló resigned. They included many generations and political inclinations. They said they would not resign because they endured political corruption, high poverty rates, debt shortages and a painful recovery since Hurricane Maria in 2017.

July 23

Rosselló's chief of staff submitted his resignation effective July 31, according to a letter received from CNN.

Reports that the governor wanted to resign to the next day appeared on July 24

banners all day long.

  Protesters in the streets of Old San Juan watched the Governor's message on their cell phones.

Around midnight, Rosselló announced his resignation – effective August 2 – in a message posted on social media. The governor is two and a half years in his four-year term.

  Masses celebrated at La Fortaleza shortly after Rosselló's resignation.

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