It’s now been more than a week of ongoing protests calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rosselló. Amid protests, the governor said on Sunday that he will not run for re-election in 2020 and has stepped down as head of his political party. However, he still won’t resign.
Rosselló took to Facebook Live to say, “A huge portion of the population is unhappy and I recognize it. I’ve heard you, I love the island and people. Today I have the responsibility to direct my strengths to try to find alternatives so that with God we may be able to move forward.”
The uproar began when a nearly 900-page private chat between Rosselló and members of his administration was leaked, revealing misogynistic and homophobic comments and sentiments from the governor. The scandal now referred to as ‘Chatgate‘ was immediately met with outrage from citizens, who have been protesting publicly for nearly two weeks — along with celebrities like Bad Bunny, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ricky Martin. The Puerto Rican community and supporters have not been deterred by Rosselló’s announcement that he will not run for re-election and continue to ask for his resignation.
Though the video announcement has been met with comments of thanks and forgiveness, protests are still ongoing. Many Puerto Ricans are skipping work and traveling far distances to join in on the resistance, which has been centralized in the island’s capital city of San Juan.
— stephie 🌻 (@ste_rdz) July 22, 2019
Hashtags like #RickyRenunciaAhora and #UnNuevoPuertoRico are still trending on Twitter. Ricky Martin, who was also subject in Rosselló’s leaked messages, has called out the governor on his attempts to pacify Puerto Ricans by preying on their emotions, instead of actually acting on their demands.
“Ricardo Rosselló, no solamente eres cínico, también eres maquiavélico. Lo único que acabas de hacer con el mensaje que acabas de dar es jugar con la salud mental de los puertorriqueños…”- Ricky Martin a @ricardorossello. Estará en #PuertoRico mañana. pic.twitter.com/DFOAFoF5ZR
— Robby Cortés🇵🇷 (@RobbyCortes) July 22, 2019
Although ‘Chatgate’ seems to have been a tipping point for the people of Puerto Rico, corruption and political strife have been ongoing for many years. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017, many Puerto Rican citizens became emboldened and came together to rebuild the island, creating a renewed sense of community throughout the island that seems to have continued to empower Puerto Ricans to fight against injustice.