Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló faces calls to resign after private chats leaked, revealing the men mocking women and victims of Hurricane Maria. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
Thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets Monday as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló clung to his job amid a deepening scandal that has fueled intense emotions across the island.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters were expected, and they quickly overwhelmed the expressway into San Juan for what could be the largest rally yet, coming one day after Rosselló announced he would not seek re-election but refused to resign.
Rosselló’s boyish charm and dogged determination helped him survive controversies surrounding Hurricane Maria, which ripped the island apart in 2017, and a series of corruption scandals. “Chatgate,” however, is proving his most difficult hurdle.
Monday marked the 10th consecutive day of protests.
The issue involves the leak of more than 800 pages that include sometimes profanity-laced, misogynistic texts and online chats with male members of his administration.
Rosselló ‘s targets included former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a political ally of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. Rosselló, upset that Mark-Viverito had challenged Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez’s support for statehood for Puerto Rico, called her a “whore.”
He also used vulgar language regarding a federal board overseeing the island’s finances. And island musical star Ricky Martin was not spared, with tasteless language used to describe his homosexuality.
Rosselló apologized shortly after the information became public.
“I’m the governor of Puerto Rico, but I’m a human being who has his faults,” Rosselló said.
Apologies have failed to curb the crisis, and protests have been growing. Last week, a series of protests were led by unionized workers accompanied by horseback riders, and a caravan of thousands of motorcyclists. On Sunday, kayakers made their case from the waters.
Rossello also has drawn ire on the mainland – “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was among protesters gatherer last week in New York. Puerto Rico’s non-voting member of Congress Jenniffer Gonzalez; Sen. Rick Scott of Florida; and New York Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have all demanded Rosselló step aside.
In Puerto Rico, organizers labeled the planned road shutdown “660,510 + 1,”- the number of people who voted for Rosselló plus one more to counter his claim that he will not resign because he was chosen by the people.
Mark-Viverito was among those protesting Monday in San Juan.
“He must resign, that is the message today,” she told CNN. “This is not about me. This is an attack on all women and an attack on Puerto Rico in general.”
Contributing: Susan Miller; The Associated Press
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