Throughout the latter half of July, citizens of Puerto Rico had stormed the streets in protest against Governor Ricardo Rosselló, after a scandal exploded on July 17th, where over 900 pages of messages sent on Telegram, an online messaging app, were leaked by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism containing crude remarks regarding other politicians, journalists, and celebrities alike. Shortly after the exposure, protests erupted in the streets of Old San Juan demanding Gov. Rosselló to resign.
His resignation was effective on August 2nd, at 5 pm, and Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez, who was selected by Gov. Rosselló to take his place as an interim governor, was to become his successor should no one be appointed. This had many Puerto Ricans upset because she’s seen as loyal to Rosselló; therefore, she wasn’t trusted either.
Rosselló also nominated Pedro Pierluisi, who was sworn in against the wishes of citizens’ and the Senate. This past Monday the Puerto Rican Senate sued to block the appointment of Pierluisi as the new Governor raising a constitutional predicament as the island is questioning if he is legally able to hold office. The newly installed governor faced two lawsuits, as Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of the city of San Juan, filed a lawsuit questioning whether Pierluisi had the right to be sworn in. The proceedings resulted in Pierlisi’s rejection as the leader by the Supreme Court and was removed from the position after five days of service.
On Wednesday, August 7th, Wanda Vázquez, the original nominee, who had expressed that she had no desire to become the leader, was the latest person to be sworn in as a governor of the territory, making her the third person to occupy the position since Roselló’s downfall. This week has been a tumultuous one for the country, trying to figure out who would be the one to take the seat and lead the island, swearing in three governors in a week, and trying to keep citizens at bay has been rough.
With the current situation regarding the governor, things are not looking good for the political climate in Puerto Rico. The corrupt government and a recession that has lasted over a decade makes for the discontent and anger of Puerto Ricans. People on the island are having a hard time earning money to support their families to the point where many have migrated to the United States in pursuit of a better life.
Unfortunately, the crisis remains and the political status there is not clear. Protesters on the streets are chanting “ Wanda renuncia,” (Wanda resign) demanding Vázquez to leave, which leads us to believe they may be considering a fourth candidate. Puerto Rico will be having an election for a new governor who will be duly elected in November 2020, so that will surely be a race to watch out for. But for now we’ll just have to wait for this ongoing issue to be resolved.
By Jean Santiago