Puerto Rico governor announces resignation following protests

Sunday, July 28, 2019

File photo of Governor Rosselló in April
Image: World Travel & Tourism Council.

Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, Puerto Rico's governor, announced his resignation shortly before midnight Wednesday night in an internet video broadcast to the U.S. island territory. Rosselló said he is to leave office next month on August 2 at 5 p.m. local time (2100 UTC). His announcement followed two weeks of protests in the capital, San Juan, over offensive messages about public officials and others.

In his resignation speech, Rosselló said, "Despite having the democratic mandate of the people who elected me, today I feel that to continue in this position represents difficulty in allowing achieved success to endure." ((es))Spanish language: ‍A pesar de contar con el mandato del pueblo que democráticamente me eligió, hoy siento que continuar en esta posición representa una dificultad para que el éxito alcanzado perdure.

Protesters called for Rosselló's resignation after revelations he and his staffers sent anti-homosexual and misogynistic comments using Telegram, a messaging app. The Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism obtained the Telegram messages between Rosselló and eleven others and released them publicly on July 13. Messages disparaged a variety of public figures and Hurricane Maria victims. Since the release of the text messages, protests filled the San Juan streets daily.

Rosselló is set to be replaced by Wanda Vázquez Garced, the Secretary of Justice for Puerto Rico. According to the commonwealth's constitution, the Secretary of State would normally succeed the governor, but that office stands vacant following the resignation of Luis Rivera Marín over the scandal.

In a statement, Vázquez said, "I understand he made the right decision, for the good of both his family and for Puerto Rico, as I let him know [...] He just announced that this resignation will not be effective today. We will be working together to have a responsible and transparent transition process."

Ricardo Llerandi, Rosselló's chief of staff, also announced his resignation effective next Wednesday, July 31.

Rosselló began serving as Puerto Rico's eleventh governor on January 2, 2017. In addition to stepping down as governor, Rosselló announced he would resign leadership of the New Progressive Party.

Note — October 10, 2019
The above states Rosselló was the eleventh governor of Puerto Rico. While he was the eleventh person to serve as the governor, there have been twelve governorships.

This story has updates
See Puerto Rico's governor Rosselló resigns, new governor sworn in, August 4, 2019