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.
Wow. Puerto Rico.— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) July 22, 2019
You don’t get this perspective from the ground.
They are Loud.
Grand Central en NYC pic.twitter.com/Gxg4CAsnW4— Ricardo Alberto Maldonado (@bookswimming) July 22, 2019
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.
The people of Puerto Rico have spoken loudly and clearly for the world to hear.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 19, 2019
We must stand with la isla. Rosselló must resign. https://t.co/X3hjnJBfA0
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.”
#PuertoRico Gov. Rosselló must resign, effective immediately. His vile, inexcusable comments, corruption scandals have engulfed his administration & make it impossible for him to be an effective advocate for the residents of Puerto Rico. He must step down. https://t.co/jBoatUT4OS— Adriano Espaillat (@RepEspaillat) July 19, 2019
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.”
Over 1M people in New York have roots in Puerto Rico and when there is an injustice or injury to Puerto Rico, our communities are also harmed.— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) July 22, 2019
The recent demonstrations & ongoing crisis of faith in Governor Rosselló makes his continued leadership untenable.
He should resign.
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.