NY lawmakers join the call for Puerto Rico’s governor to resign

Demonstrators march on Las Americas highway demanding the resignation of governor Ricardo Rosselló, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Demonstrators march on Las Americas highway demanding the resignation of governor Ricardo Rosselló, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Carlos Giusti/AP/Shutterstock
Demonstrators march on Las Americas highway demanding the resignation of governor Ricardo Rosselló, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

NY lawmakers join the call for Puerto Rico’s governor to resign

Thousands protest Ricardo Rosselló after his heinous private chats were made public.
July 23, 2019

Puerto Rico had one hell of a Monday, kicking off the work week with a massive protest – with thousands taking to the streets and highways of San Juan and New York City, calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

The protests were a response to Rosselló’s attempt to calm the aggravated Puerto Rican population on Sunday by announcing during a Facebook Live appearance that he would be stepping down as the president of the New Progressive Party and that he would not be seeking reelection as governor. But in refusing to step down immediately, Rosselló’s message only pushed Puerto Ricans over the edge.

The citizens of the small Caribbean island have been demanding the governor resign ever since hundreds of documents were published by the Center for Investigative Journalism revealing private group chats between the governor and his inner circle in May. The leaked chats mocked bodies of the dead in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and included sexually explicit and violent messages about former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and, of all people, singer Ricky Martin. The texts arrived amid unrest in Puerto Rico over the government’s slow recovery efforts after catastrophic natural disasters, and how the government was responding to the island’s escalating debt crisis. Prior to the private chats being released, members of Rosselló’s administration were arrested for allegedly directing government contracts to businesses they have personal ties to.

So far, multiple New York lawmakers and several presidential candidates such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have echoed Puerto Rico’s protesters. Here are the New York lawmakers who have called for the governor’s resignation:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The congresswoman tweeted her support for the island and said thatRosselló must resign.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat 

Rep. Adriano Espaillat called the governor out for his “vile, inexcusable comments” and his “corruption scandal” on Twitter and said that Rosselló “must step down.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez

Puerto Rico-born Rep. Nydia Velázquez released a full statement on her stance regarding Rosselló via Twitter last Friday calling for the governor’s resignation.

“Today, I believe that the scandals emanating from the Governor’s Administration imperil future federal assistance, meaning the people of Puerto Rico who have done nothing wrong, could pay the price for the corruption of the few,” Velasquez wrote, saying she stands in solidarity with Puerto Ricans.

New York Attorney General Letitia James

Calling attention to the deep ties many New Yorkers have to Puerto Rico, New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted that when there is “injustice or injury to Puerto Rico, our communities are also harmed.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

The mayor’s office shared the following press release on Monday calling for the governor’s resignation: “Governor Rosselló has exhibited a pattern of sexist, homophobic and entirely inappropriate behavior. While Puerto Ricans attempt to heal from Hurricane María, he mocks victims for a cheap laugh. His words are as divisive as they are disqualifying. Governor Rosselló should resign immediately.”

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

The New York City Council speaker tweeted in solidarity with Puerto Ricans protesting on Monday.

Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Mark-Viverito, who was directly targeted in Rosselló’s brash messages, has been calling for the governor’s resignation since the “group chat” scandal broke. On Monday, she appeared on CNN to speak out about being targeted by the governor and why he should step down. “This is not about me, obviously this is an attack on all women and this is basically an attack on the people of Puerto Rico in general,” Mark-Viverito told CNN.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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