Puerto Rico’s governor goes AWOL as protesters gather outside his residence, US officials call to step down
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló official resident remains under siege as hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered this week outside the La Fortaleza that serves as the governor’s official residence.
Puerto Ricans are calling for Rosselló’s resignation after leaked online chats show him insulting women, political opponents and mocking victims of Hurricane Maria, one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the island territory.
Amid the outcry, the media-friendly governor has avoided public appearances since July 11, making only four brief appearances, breaking from his usual three or four lengthy press conferences in addition to multiple media appearances.
A new wave of protests hit the island on Friday, with union workers marching towards La Fortaleza from the nearby waterfront. Horsebacks riders and hundreds of other people also joined the march.
Smaller protests are also organized across the island over the weekend, though most of the focus is on Monday when most people are expected to hit the streets.
The calls to oust the governor have caught the attention in the mainland U.S., with multiple officials coming out to in support of the protesters.
Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro openly called on Rosselló to step down, saying “it’s clear that Gov. Rosselló can no longer be effective.”
U.S. Republican Sen. Rick Scott, New York congresswomen Nydia Velázquez and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez also called for the ouster.
“We must stand with la isla. Rosselló must resign,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez.
On Wednesday, some well-known Major League Baseball players with ties to the island also urged the governor to resign. They included the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez, the Saint Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa, the Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor, and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Professional basketball player J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks also joined the chorus.
During a July 11 press conference, Rosselló asked Puerto Ricans to forgive him for the comments he made in private. In further media appearances, he continued to ask for forgiveness over the comments many deemed offensive and misogynistic.
Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of private messages between Rosselló and several other government officials.
In one message Rosselló calls one New York female politician of Puerto Rican descent a “w—e” and described another as a “daughter of a b—h.” One chat also makes vulgar references to Latin pop star Ricky Martin’s homosexuality.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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