Puerto Rico's embattled Gov. Rosselló won't seek reelection
Puerto Rico’s beleaguered Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced on Sunday he will not seek reelection next year and will relinquish his role as the head of one of the main political parties on the island. He nevertheless vowed to stay in office for the remainder of his term, despite days of large-scale protests calling for his immediate resignation.
The 40-year-old governor, an ardent backer of Puerto Rican statehood, has been under increased scrutiny since a high-profile federal corruption probe led to the arrests of two of his former cabinet members and after the release of vulgar, sexist and inappropriate private messages sent in a chat by Rosselló and his top lieutenants.
“I recognize that apologizing is not sufficient,” Rosselló said in a livestream on social media. “And only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors and embark on a real reconciliation.”
Although his decision to end his reelection bid in 2020 and resign from his position as president of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party might quell some concerns, it is unlikely to satisfy the spirited movement that has coalesced on the U.S. territory — home to approximately 3.2 million U.S. citizens — with the objective of ousting him from office and ushering reform to the island’s government, which has faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement for years.
For nine straight days and nights, thousands of protestors have mobilized to organize large-scale rallies, including several outside the governor’s mansion in San Juan’s colonial neighborhood. One massive, star-studded demonstration drew between 100,000 and 500,000 people. The movement — relying on creative forms of protests like demonstrations on horseback and yoga sessions designed to express dissent — has been calling for Rosselló’s immediate resignation.
Thousands of Puerto Ricans are expected to block the main artery into the capital of San Juan on Monday morning. The planned demonstrations to halt traffic at the Luis A. Ferré highway has already prompted nearby commercial centers and businesses to close shop. Activists believe this will serve as a key moment in the political turmoil that has beset Puerto Rico for more than a week.