Home / World / The Governor of Puerto Rico is struggling to stay in the office

The Governor of Puerto Rico is struggling to stay in the office

The embattled governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, has announced that he will not request re-election in November 2020, but will not resign.

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Rossello will resign as President of the New Progressive Party. He said he would extend his term as governor and facilitate the democratic election of his successor.

"Sorry is not enough," Rossello said in the Facebook Live announcement, adding that he was ready to take over the process that could lead to his removal.

"I announce that next year I will not seek re-election as governor. I also resign as President of the New Progressive Party. Finally, I should respect the constitutional order and welcome the process of the Legislative Assembly, which I will confront with all truth, strength and responsibility, "said Rossello. "To every Puerto Rican: I've heard you and I hear you today, I made mistakes and apologized, I'm a good man who has a great love for my island and for all."

The announcement comes after a week of protest triggered by the publication of explosive text messages between the governor and his best aides and advisers.

Big protests are expected on Monday. The demonstrators plan to assemble on a major highway to San Juan.

The governor was faced with growing pressure to resign as private online chat messages leaked earlier this month in the Telegram app, in which he and his top aides allegedly made homophobic, misogynist and sexist comments against opponents and critics and victims of the hurricane mocked Maria.

  PHOTO: Ricardo Rossello, Governor of Puerto Rico, speaks at a press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 16, 2019.
Carlos Giusti / AP
Ricardo Rossello, Governor of Puerto Rico, speaks during a press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 16, 2019.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to descend on Monday on a main road to San Juan. On Wednesday, police fired pepper spray to disperse a demonstration near the governor's villa in San Juan.

Celebrities with Puerto Rican roots such as singer Ricky Martin, playwright "Hamilton" Lin-Manuel Miranda and Puerto Rican rapper Benito Martinez, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have participated in the protests in Puerto Rico and New York.

The 40-year-old Rossello, the second youngest governor in the history of Puerto Rico and son of former Governor Pedro Rossello, was sworn in as the governor of US territory on January 2, 2017, years of recession.

Just eight months after his election, Hurricane Maria hit the island, killing an estimated 2,975 people, wreaking havoc and putting Puerto Rico in deeper financial turmoil.

  PHOTO: Ricky Martin gesticulates after a speech during a demonstration that prompted the governor Ricardo Rossello's resignation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 17, 2019.
Eric Rojas / AFP / Getty Images
Ricky Martin gesticulates after calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 17, 2019 during a demonstration.

Rossello, a Democrat put into office on a pro-statehood platform, saw how his support eased after Hurricane Maria when his government was accused of mismanaging the recovery effort after the devastating storm.

On July 10, Rossello's administration went into scandal when the FBI arrested former governor of education, Julia Keleher, and former Puerto Rican health insurance director Angela Avila Marrero, accused of channeling federal funds to unqualified workers. politically connected contractors.

An indictment of 32 charges has accused Keleher and Marrero of fraud involving US $ 15.5 million in federal funding between 2017 and 2019.

The indictment followed the explosive release of the Puerto Rican Center for Investigative Journalism on July 13, which included nearly 900 pages of talks between Rossello and his key male aides, advisers, and at least one lobbyist using vulgar language. Disparage political opponents , Critics and even members of their own party while communicating with a telegram app through a chat group.

Among the news was one from Rossello, who described the former spokeswoman for the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, as a "whore." She defeated Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez for supporting the statehood of Puerto Rico ,

  PHOTO: Demonstrators demonstrate against Ricardo Rossello, Governor of Puerto Rico, near a police barrier built along a road that leads to the governor's mansion in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 20, 2019
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Protesters demonstrate against Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico, ears of a police barrier built along a road leading to the governor's mansion in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico On July 20, 2019, Puerto Rico ruled, "Mark Viverito replied in Spanish, posting on Twitter .

Rossello was also caught mocking an overweight man with which he posed for a photo.

The leaked chat room conversations also caught up with Christian Sobrino, Rossello's top economic adviser, who made homophobic remarks about Ricky Martin, saying Carmen Yulin Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, was "excited" and "saving" to shoot her. Cruz is expected to run for Rossello in the governor election of 2020.

Rossello discussed the Financial Supervision and Management Board for Puerto Rico, which was launched in 2016 by the US federal debt restructuring bill in Puerto Rico. Other members of the chat group used emojis with their middle finger to express their contempt for the board.

Members of the group also joked about the bodies that piled up after Hurricane Maria.

Sobrino and Rossello Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin stepped down as the chat messages leaked.

"I'm not proud of what I've done," Rossello said in a statement last week. "These were just comments, but they were hurtful comments and I apologize for what I did, but I have to get on and continue my work for Puerto Rico and I will continue my work."

Rossello added, "I did not commit any illegal or corrupt acts, I committed an improper act."

President Donald Trump has posted several tweets about the upheavals in Puerto Rico, where he said, "There are many bad things happening there."

But Trump has made his remarks more on Cruz than Rossello. Cruz has sharply criticized the Trump Administration's response to Hurricane Maria.

The President tweeted that Cruz is "a despicable and incompetent person I would not trust under any circumstances."

Cruz responded in a statement on Facebook on Thursday: "President Trump, you never understood. and you never will. "

"It's not about you, it's about the dignity of the Puerto Rican people," Cruz said in her statement. "What happens in Puerto Rico is that a people united by a deep sense of dignity is protesting on the streets against corruption and a misogynistic, homophobic governor with two faces."

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