The embattled governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, refused to resign on Tuesday after a series of scandals shook his administration of the island area.
"Apart from these [protests] I recognize their I recognize the size and it is important to me that the government continues to work for the island and we achieve results," he said at a press conference, according to McClatchy DC.
Rosselló's government was plunged into disarray on Saturday after the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico published 889 pages of sexist, homophobic and profane text messages from the encrypted app telegram between him and eleven other male members of his administration.
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The chat group included Luis Rivera Marín, Rosselló's Secretary of State; Christian Sobrino, who held a number of important economic functions; Carlos Bermúdez, a former communications assistant; Edwin Miranda, communications consultant; Interior Minister Ricardo Llerandi; Secretary of State for Public Affairs Anthony Maceira; and Elías Sánchez, former representative of the board of directors overseeing the bankruptcy of Puerto Rico.
Rosselló describes Puerto Rican born New York politician Melissa Mark-Viverito as the Spanish word for "wh —" and "wh —" made fun of Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin because he was gay.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan and frequent critic of President Trump, was also targeted. "I really want to shoot her," said Christian Sobrino, Rosselló's Chief Financial Officer, about Cruz.
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The chat also included emojis of a raised middle finger aimed at the federal agency overseeing the island's finances. Rivera Marín, Sobrino, Bermúdez and Miranda have already resigned or been dismissed.
The leakages occurred in a state corruption investigation days after the arrest of six former government officials and contractors, including the former Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.
Protesters arrested On the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, on Monday night, you'll be kicked off with signs and the song "Ricky, renuncia" or Ricky. Some participants sprayed insults used in chats on walls.
Rosselló said 21 police had been injured in confrontations with the crowd; The police used tear gas to disperse protesters who lit a firework outside the governor's house.
"We can not protect vandalism, aggression and violence," said the governor. "I want to make sure we can get back up after this blow."
The scandals are a blow to Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and a continuing debt crisis. Year of the recession.
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Rosselló's refusal to resign has provoked outrage among Puerto Ricans in Florida, many of whom emigrated after the hurricane.
"Government institutions in Puerto Rico are as fragile as their infrastructure," said Jorge Bonilla, a conservative Puerto Rican talk show host in Central Florida, McClatchy said. "I do not think it's sustainable that he's still governor … At this point, you have to wonder what else can happen before Congress takes control of the island."
Members of Rosselló's New Progressive Parties do not support the impeachment of him, said Carlos Méndez Núñez. the President of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.
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Rosselló has set a deadline of one week to show that he can govern.
"This week he will meet with mayors, legislators, and we have to give him this time," said Méndez Núñez. "The impeachment is not yet available, but we reserve the right to assess whether this is justified."
Fox News reporters Robert Gearty and The Associated Press have contributed to this report.