Puerto Rico In Deep Turmoil Over Governor
Puerto Rico In Deep Turmoil Over Governor
It’s well known that the government of Puerto Rico was a mess long before Hurricane Maria, and it has continued to be a mess afterward. Now, the people are planning on marching against the governor unless he resigns.
The most recent issue with Governor Ricardo Rosselló involves the discovery of pages upon pages of text messages, through the Telegraph app.
The exchanges – which go from the end of 2018 to January 20 of this year – also show the fixing and manipulation of political polls to advance the public image of the Governor and his administration. Not to mention the many sexual jokes and misogynistic jokes, as well as jokes about journalists – like Benjamín Torres Gotay whom they call “mamabicho” -, activist groups like the Feminist Collective, politicians of all parties, with emphasis on the mayoress of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, and officers of the Fiscal Control Board as its president, José Carrión, and its director, Natalie Jaresko.” (translated from the original Spanish via Google Translate)
Honestly, this is the kind of text app trove that Democrats in Congress probably dream of finding among members of the Trump administration. According to Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, though, the real problem isn’t the crude jokes. It’s the fact that information was freely discussed on this protected app among people who should not have had it – and it stinks of cronyism and corruption.
On one occasion, Sobrino shared in the chat an opinion of the government lawyers “highly confidential” and on the budget process of the island. This happened in front of people who are not public officials such as Bermudez, Miranda, Cerame, Rosario and Sanchez Sifonte.” (translated from the original Spanish via Google Translate)
The discovery of these messages has sent Puerto Rico into an uproar, and has caused so much upheaval within the Puerto Rican government that members of both the GOP and the Democrats have called on Governor Rosselló to resign.
The people of Puerto Rico have spoken loudly and clearly for the world to hear.
We must stand with la isla. Rosselló must resign. https://t.co/X3hjnJBfA0
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 19, 2019
— Patricia Mazzei (@PatriciaMazzei) July 19, 2019
It might be a sign of the impending apocalypse that AOC and Rick Scott are actually agreeing on something.
The uproar from the people of Puerto Rico has reached a fever pitch. Remember, these are the same people who have seen repeated failures from the government well before Hurricane Maria with the debt crisis, and to now see government officials mocking them in a private app chat has made the people downright furious.
Rosselló announced on Sunday night that he would not seek re-election and would step down from his party…but he will not resign.
Rossello will step down as the president of the New Progressive Party. He said he will serve out his term as governor and allow for his successor to be democratically elected.”
“Apologizing is not enough,” Rossello said in the Facebook Live announcement, adding that he is prepared to take on the process that could lead to his impeachment.”
“I announce that I will not seek reelection as governor next year. Additionally, I am resigning as president of the New Progressive Party. Finally, I should be respectful of the constitutional order and I welcome the process by the legislative assembly which I will confront with all the truth, strength and in a responsible manner,” Rossello said. “To every Puerto Rican: I have heard you, and I hear you today. I have committed errors and I have apologized. I am a good man that has a grand love for my island and for all.”
That halfway measure is not sitting well with Puerto Ricans. They want Governor Rosselló gone.
BREAKING: Protesters gave an ultimatum to the Governor after his address. “You have until 11:59pm to leave. If you refuse, we will make this country unmanageable” – @JerohimOrtiz pic.twitter.com/Na41r6WeDn
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) July 21, 2019
What does making the country “unmanageable” look like? According to news reports, people are gathering for a giant protest on Monday morning. And other officials are looking into impeachment. According to Puerto Rico’s constitution, the governor can be impeached under Article III, Section 21, for “treason, bribery, other felonies, and misdemeanors involving moral turpitude.” While these text messages might not rise to the level of a felony (though the disclosure of confidential information to people outside government might get close, if it isn’t an actual felony), the people seeking Governor Rosselló’s impeachment have quite the case on “moral turpitude,” considering the content of the text messages. But the governor sounds like he is planning on fighting it out – which means more chaos for Puerto Rico.
Remember, all Puerto Ricans are American citizens. They might be a semi-independently run commonwealth and not a state, but they are citizens of the United States. We need to be paying attention to what is going on there, because that level of chaos could make its way to the American mainland – in the form of Puerto Ricans deciding to simply up and leave the island in search of a better economic situation and less political instability.