Puerto Rico: Protesters demand governor′s resignation | News | DW | 18.07.2019
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Puerto Rico: Protesters demand governor's resignation

The leak of sexist and homophobic texts sent by Governor Ricardo Rossello sparked outrage on the island. His government has also been accused of corruption and mishandling of the aftermath of hurricane Maria.

Thousands of people marched to the governor's residence in Puerto Rico's capital of San Juan on Wednesday to demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello.

The demonstration is the latest expression of outrage from citizens of the island, which is still struggling to recover from a financial crisis, a decade of economic recession and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Protesters waved Puerto Rico's flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue, as a symbol of their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. They also accuse Rossello's government of mishandling the the recovery after Hurricane Maria, which left thousands of people dead in 2017.

Latin music stars from the island, such as Ricky Martin and singer-producer Benito A. Martinez Ocasio, known as Bad Bunny, joined the protesters and spoke to the crowd.

Read more: Puerto Ricans still without power as storm season rolls round again

Ricardo Rossello (Imago Images/Agencia EFE/T. Llorca)

Governor Ricardo Rossello has remained defiant amid calls for his resignation

Leaked chats

A leak of chats between the governor and his aides that was published by Puerto Rico's Center of Investigative Journalism on Saturday sparked an outcry that led to the protests.

The roughly 889 pages of chats, who took place between late 2018 and early this year, revealed disparaging, sexist and homophobic remarks, including some directed against political opponents.

As a result of the leak, Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin, who participated in the chat, resigned.

The 40-year-old Rossello has rejected calls for his own resignation. "I'll continue working," Rossello said at a press conference. "It is my responsibility to keep working for the people of Puerto Rico and that is what I'll keep doing."

Protests demanding Rosello's resignation have been ongoing since last weekend. The unrest in Puerto Rico caused cruise line Royal Caribbean to cancel two stops on the island for the "the safety of passengers and crew."

jcg/amp (EFE, AP, AFP, Reuters)

Watch video 12:07

Puerto Rico after the storm

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