Faced with a potent uprising in Puerto Rico, the country’s governor announced he will not resign, defying protester’s demands.
Despite dozens of people gathering outside his official residency for seven straight days, Ricardo Rosselló said on Sunday (21 July) while he will step-down as party president, he will continue as governor.
This announcement comes a week after chat logs between he and his cabinet exposed countless sexist and homophobic remarks within his administration.
What did Rosselló say?
In a brief Facebook Live stream titled, ‘Mensaje al pueblo’ [Message to the people], Rosselló addressed protester’s demands.
‘I am aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort you have,’ Rosselló said
‘I have heard you, and I hear you today, I have made mistakes, and I have apologized.’
He added: ‘All of my time must be dedicated to the responsibilities that I took on as governor.’
— Omar Rodríguez Ortiz (@Omar_fromPR) July 22, 2019
Moreover, Rosselló said he will not seek re-election in 2020.
But the address did little to quell the people. While some watchers gave more than 10,000 ‘angry’ reacts to the post, others re-grouped outside the governor’s residence that very night.
Not the end of the protests
In fact, today (22 July) one million irate islanders are expected to, yet again, pack into a major San Juan highway.
The protest will shut down not only the island’s busiest road, but a nearby shopping mall and wide areas of the capital city, according to organizers.
Furthermore, he took to Instagram to rally support for the march.
He said: ‘I want to feel the power of the power of the people.’
Therefore, it will mark the eighth day in an unrelenting push to oust the governor.
Rosselló, who is chair of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party, took the governor’s seat in 2017.
‘We won’t back down’
LGBTI rights activist Pedro Serrano spoke to Gay Star News ahead of the planned protest.
‘Now, more than ever, hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million people will march today on the streets.
‘Alongside Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Residente and other artists to demand that Rosselló resigns or is impeached,’ he said.
Why are Puerto Ricans protesting?
Rosselló’s administration has been defined by three things: a sluggish debt crisis, an equally slow recovery from Hurriance Maria, and countless scandal.
However, when the Center for Investigative Journalism leaked just under 900 pages of correspondence between the government and 11 aids and cabinet members, Puerto Ricans reached boiling point.
I am very proud of my people. We protest with music, with flags flying, with passion, with humor, and determination.
This is my daughter’s dog, a rescue from Puerto Rico, during a solidarity demonstration in San Antonio: pic.twitter.com/VFeoZgw4yv
— Ada Montalvo🇵🇷🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@AdaMontalvo2) July 22, 2019
The leak exposed countless sexist and homophobic remarks from high-ranking officials and lawmakers.
Consequently, waving flags and honking car horns, banging on drums and blowing on whistles, thousands have taken to San Juan’s streets to call for Rosselló’s resignation.