NOTE: Live updates on ongoing protests in Puerto Rico and the fast-moving updates on Governorship are located at the bottom of this article.
PUERTO RICO (PM) — The governor of Puerto Rico stated late Wednesday that he would resign effective Aug. 2, amid heightened tension from inside and outside his government, after a set of leaked chat messages denigrating his opponents and Hurricane Maria victims triggered outrage from frustrated residents who had trekked to the streets for 13 continuous days of protests.
Ricardo Rosselló had resisted calls for his resignation as the island deteriorated into upheaval. He dropped the backing from nearly everyone in his ruling statehood party, and more than a dozen members of his administration had resigned in recent days, including his chief of staff on Tuesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, the leader of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Carlos J. Méndez Nuñez, announced that an impeachment inquiry by three attorneys decided that there were legal grounds to begin the process to remove Rosselló. Méndez said that the process would start if the governor did not resign and put “a final point on all this.”
Méndez’s challenge advised the lawmaker had the necessary votes to secure a two-thirds majority in his chamber and send the case to the Puerto Rico Senate. Puerto Ricans remained for hours for an answer from their embattled governor as the risk ratcheted up and speculation about his potential successor abounded.
HOW WE GOT HERE
The New York Times reports: ‘Mr. Rosselló, 40, apologized on Thursday after an excerpt from the chat was first published by local media showing he had referred to Melissa Mark-Viverito, the former speaker of the New York City Council, who was born in Puerto Rico, using the Spanish word for “whore.” In English, he also used a profane expression in reference to the oversight board that controls Puerto Rico’s finances, followed by emojis of a raised middle finger.’
Among the homophobic statements that were reiterated are references to Popular Democratic Party senator Eduardo Bhatia using the Spanish word for c**ksucker,’
There were further remarks about Ricky Martin, according to El Nuevo Dia: ‘Sobrino says homophobic comments about singer and actor Ricky Martin. “Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin”, he wrote, later saying, “Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f**ks men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”’
Former Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned from the office of Governor on August 2nd. Pedro Pierluisi was appointed to replace him, but on August 7th, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court rendered his swearing-in invalid, and he must now leave office as well.
More coverage on the leaked text here. Read the full released Telegram chats:
GFR Media – Full Telegram Chat by on Scribd