FILE – In this January 16, 2018 file, Puerto Rican Justice Minister Wanda Vazquez answers questions from reporters in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Vazquez is to become Puerto Rico's new governor after Governor Ricardo Rossello announced on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, that he will resign on August 2 after weeks of protests over leaked obscene, misogynist online chats.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico
The woman replacing Puerto Rico's embattled governor announced on Sunday that she does not want the job as the US territory is plagued by a political crisis.
Justice Minister Wanda Vázquez said in a Twitter post she hopes for a governor. Ricardo Rosselló will appoint a foreign minister as planned before resigning on 2 August.
Former Foreign Minister Luis Rivera Marín would have been the next governor, according to the Constitution of the US Territory. But he is one of more than a dozen officers who have resigned in recent weeks since anyone leaked an obscenity chat in which Rosselló and close advisors insulted people, including women and victims of hurricane Maria.
Rosselló announced on Wednesday that he would do so Resign after nearly two weeks of massive protests amid anger over the chat, allegations of corruption against several former government officials and a 13-year recession. In the chat, the 40-year-old Democrat and son of a governor called a politician a "whore," described another as a "daughter of a bitch," making fun of an obese man with whom he posed in a posed photo.
Rosselló resigned as the first governor in modern history in Puerto Rico, a US-American territory with 3.2 million inhabitants. He is more than in the middle of his four-year term.
Marin's resignation had Vázquez intended as next to the governor. But she said she had already told Rosselló of her desire not to get the job, and created a chaotic scenario about who Puerto Rico's next leader would be.
If Rosselló's election as Secretary of State is not approved by the House and Senate of the island, Puerto Rico's law dictates that the Minister of Finance will come next if the Minister of Justice does not become governor. But the current Finance Minister Francisco Parés is too young at the age of 31. The constitution stipulates that the person must be at least 35 years old to have provisional Education Minister Eligio Hernández on his turn. He replaced former Education Minister Julia Keleher, who resigned in April and was arrested on July 10 for corruption allegations by the federal government. She did not plead guilty.
"That's crazy," said political expert Mario Negrón Portillo in a telephone interview on Sunday. "We have no idea what will happen tomorrow, societies can not live with this kind of insecurity."
Vázquez's comments came less than an hour after Anthony Maceira's resignation.
"We had many challenges to face as Puerto Ricans, although we sometimes differed," he said. "The work of each one of us must be continued with the well-being of our island and its people in the north."
The announcement comes one day before the Puerto Ricans plan another march, this time against Vázquez, who is accused of not ordering. An investigation into the alleged mismanagement of the supply of hurricane victims, among others.
Vázquez said Friday that there is a lot of misinformation, but she can not speak publicly about certain cases.
"The malicious attacks on my staff and professional integrity continue," she said. "The desire and agenda of some to undermine my credibility in this moment of transcendental significance for Puerto Rico and to destabilize the governance is obvious."
A spokeswoman for Vázquez did not immediately return a message on Sunday.
Aimara Pérez, a 32-year-old draftswoman who has participated in some of the recent marches, said she did not want Vázquez to be the governor.
"We will continue to protest," she said. "It will not stop, if there is evidence of corruption, people will move forward without fear and we will get rid of them all."