This summer, Puerto Rico made history by being the first ever community to force their governor to resign. The natives committed to a week of creative protests; in order to unite and take down Ricardo Rossello. While the nation was split in their views regarding statehood, the week of revolt brought every single Puerto Rican together into a united agreement in taking down Ricardo Rossello, no matter their political beliefs.
Rossello, disrespected the people, their rights, and laughed at death throughout the island. Natives fought for him to resign because text messages were leaked of Rosello disowning the people, discriminating against homosexuals, and mocking deaths caused by Hurricane Maria. One disturbing message included Rossello making fun of the dead bodies after the hurricane. He sent via text,
[pullquote]“Now that we are on the subject, don’t we have some cadavers to feed our crows?” [/pullquote]
Rossello also mentioned Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin in a message, saying:
“Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f—- men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”
Once the substantial amount of texts were released to the public, the people acted quickly. Protests began to take place all over the island, beginning in Old San Juan. According to Puerto Rican journalist Victoria Leandra, these included a motorized protest with 3,000 motorcyclists, a horse ride, a maritime protest next to his mansion, banging pots and pans in apartment balconies, protest body art, yoga in front of his mansion, a massive Instagram takeover, a “Ricky Resign” drink sold in bars, and an entire highway shut down where thousands of people marched against him. Famous Puerto Rican singers took time off of their tours to join their people in this march such as Bad Bunny and Ricky Martin, whom Rossello mentioned in one of his texts. Protestors held up “Ricky Renuncia” signs, as well as spray painting the slogan all over the island. Many people waved the Puerto Rican flag, including the black and white version, which represents mourning. Others represented the 4,645 people who died in the hurricane by holding up the number, making signs with it, and even painting it on their faces. Protestors even held up signs thanking Rossello for bringing the people together. Although Puerto Rico is split in their political beliefs regarding statehood with the U.S. or not, everyone agreed on one thing during this week: taking down Rossello.
This issue not only affected those living in Puerto Rico, a Woodland student also felt the repercussions of Rossello’s actions.
Yamilet Diodonet left Puerto Rico two years ago after the hurricane. She felt bad for her people and her homeland.
[pullquote]“He was elected because he was the strongest opponent. He was responsible and mature, we all thought that because his dad was the governor before him,” states Diodonet. “But when everything went down, everyone wanted him out.” [/pullquote]
On August 2nd 2019, the reporter watched Rossello go on a livestream and stepped down as governor. He apologized for his actions and everything he said about his own people. His apology received no remorse or forgiveness from the people. He then appointed Pedro Pierluisi, who remained governor for a total of five days before the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled his assumption unconstitutional. With that been said, the new governor had to be the Secretary of Justice which was next in line- Wanda Vasquez Garced. Garced was appointed on August 7th, the same day Pierluisi was forced to resign. The people of Puerto Rico were still not happy about this, since there were also allegations of her being involved in Rossellos corrupt schemes, and Garced stated multiple times that she did not want to be governor.
But, opinions are split about Pierluisi and Garced as well.
“I don’t like [Garced] because she was one of the people [in the text chat] who talked bad about the people,” stated Diodonet. “No one liked Pierluisi either.”
Diodonet hopes for a better government in the future of Puerto Rico.
[pullquote]“I think they will choose another governor, but I’m not sure what is going to happen next.”[/pullquote]
As of now, Puerto Rico’s government is still dealing with a lot of backlash. To whatever happens next, it is proven that these people are very passionate and proud of where they come from, and they will not settle for anything less than a great leader.