US lawmakers demand Puerto Rico governor resign amid protests

Several U.S. Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers on Friday demanded Puerto Rico’s governor step down over offensive chat messages, as lots of on the Caribbean island staged the seventh day of protests to hunt his resignation.

Banging pots and pans and chanting “Ricky Resign!,” Puerto Ricans streamed into San Juan’s earlier metropolis on Friday night and known as on Ricardo Rossello to surrender over the misogynistic and homophobic messages.

The chats, from a Telegram message group and referring primarily to politicians and officers, had been printed on Saturday.

The leak, working to 889 pages, added to Rossello’s woes after two former officers had been arrested by the FBI remaining week as part of a federal corruption probe throughout the U.S. territory.

The protests have moreover tapped into simmering resentment over Rossello’s coping with of devastating hurricanes in 2017 and alleged corruption as Puerto Rico’s fragile monetary system struggles to recuperate from the island’s chapter.

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard joined the protests in San Juan, saying she wanted to “stand up to corruption,” as completely different Democratic presidential candidates along with Julian Castro and Elizabeth Warren is moreover known as for Rossello to surrender.

“We must stand with la Isla. Rossello must resign,” tweeted U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, whose mother was born in Puerto Rico.

The island’s nonvoting marketing consultant throughout the U.S. Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez, earlier known as for his resignation, whereas Rossello’s press secretary Dennise Perez resigned, saying she might not preserve the place after she was known as corrupt in entrance of her son.

“It’s your turn, Ricky,” protesters chanted on the highway after phrase unfold that Perez had stepped aside. Rossello, who is affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Party, has refused to step down nonetheless talked about he would preserve an emergency meeting with leaders of Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party, which he leads.

Puerto Rico House Speaker Carlos Mendez on Friday launched the creation of an unbiased committee to search out out whether or not or not the center-right politician engaged in felony exercise throughout the chats. The group has ten days to ship its findings.

The island’s bar affiliation printed a report citing clear grounds to query the 40-year-old former scientist, primarily based totally on the “depravity” of his messages.

The chats, revealed by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, confirmed how Rossello and allies exchanged vulgar memes and suggestions along with privileged information.

While opposition legislators once more impeachment, the tactic has however to appreciate important assist from lawmakers in Rossello’s ruling celebration. But politicians like Gonzalez are increasingly more concerned about Puerto Rico’s “anarchic” image after clashes in San Juan this week and allegations the 2 administration officers arrested by the FBI stole authorities funds.

The violence and political turmoil come at a necessary stage throughout the U.S. territory’s chapter course. It has moreover raised points with U.S. lawmakers who’re weighing the island’s requests for billions of federal for healthcare and hurricane restoration efforts.

“The island cannot afford to lose already approved federal resources, nor the ones we are working to obtain,” Gonzalez talked about in her letter to Rossello urging him to step aside.

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