The Associated Press SAN JUAN (AP) — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said late Wednesday that he will resign Aug. 2 after nearly two weeks of furious protests and political upheaval touched off by a leak of crude and insulting chat messages between him and his top advisers.
A crowd of demonstrators outside the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan erupted into cheers and singing after his announcement on Facebook just before midnight
Addressing the protests, Rossello said, “The demands have been overwhelming and I’ve received them with highest degree of humility.”
The obscenity-laced online messages involving the governor and 11 other men infuriated Puerto Ricans already frustrated with corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.
In reaction, tens of thousands took to the streets to demand Rossello’s resignation in Puerto Rico’s biggest demonstrations since the protests that put an end to U.S. Navy training on the island of Vieques more than 15 years ago.
Rossello, a Democrat elected in 2016, is the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of more than 3 million American citizens.
Under Puerto Rico’s constitution, the secretary of state would normally assume the governorship, but since Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin became one of more than a dozen officials to resign in the uproar over the leak, leadership of the island would fall to Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez. She would become Puerto Rico’s second female governor.
In the 889 pages of conversation leaked on July 13, the chat participants mocked their constituents, including survivors of Maria, and made offensive remarks about women, with Rossello calling one a “whore.”
The men also talked about politics and government contracts, and authorities this week issued search warrants for their cellphones in an investigation into whether they illegally divulged confidential government information. Lawmakers also began exploring the possibility of impeachment.Speech