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Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Resigns After Weeks of Public Protests

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned late Wednesday night in the face of the public’s continued demands that he step down. His resignation came almost two weeks after a long chain of private messages between Rosselló and members of his administration containing hate speech were revealed to the public. The messages prompted thousands of Puerto Ricans to protest.

The governor was expected to resign from office on Wednesday afternoon, but failed to do so until late Wednesday night after his own political party, the New Progressive Party, announced they were prepared to begin impeachment proceedings.

Though the initial public outcry was incited by the misogynistic and homophobic messages found in the chat, an official investigation conducted by the island’s Justice Department did find evidence of criminal activity which eventually led to arrests within Rosselló’s administration.

Rosselló resigned via a video posted to Facebook in which he maintained that he’s always had Puerto Rico’s best interest in mind. “My only North Star has been the well-being of my island,” he said citing his accomplishments as governor. Just a few days prior, the governor had also taken to Facebook to announce that while he didn’t have plans to resign, he would not run for re-election and that he had stepped down as the head of his political party.

However, the size and intensity of the public protests continued to grow with hundreds of thousands of citizens taking to the streets to insist they would accept nothing less than resignation, resulting in the island’s largest protest in recent history. Up until the very minute of his resignation, protesters remained outside the governor’s mansion.

When the resignation video went live, crowds erupted in chants of “Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!” and “Ricky, te botamos!”

Rosselló’s is effective as of August 2, making him Puerto Rico’s first governor to resign. He will be replaced by Puerto Rico’s current Secretary of Justice, Wanda Vazquez.