Puerto Rico’s embattled Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned Wednesday evening, caving into public pressure following 12 consecutive days of riotous protests on the island.
Rosselló announced his departure in a recorded video published on Facebook Wednesday evening where he touted his successes in office and said ‘My only North Star has been the well-being of my island’.
The 40-year-old politician’s name was shrouded in scandal after 900 pages of texts between the Governor and his top aides were leaked and revealed political corruption, homophobic and misogynistic messages, and the mocking of Hurricane Maria victims.
‘Today I feel that to continue in this position represents a difficulty for the success of the country. After listening to the demands, speaking to my family, thinking about my children and prayer, I have made the following decision. With sadness, I am announcing that I will be resigning from the position of governor,’ he said in his speech.
‘What I wish most is peace and progress for my people,’ he added in his resignation statement.
His resignation will take effect August 2 at 5pm and Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez will become the next governor of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico’s embattled Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned Wednesday evening in a video published on Facebook (above), following 12 days of outraged protests on the island
Joy in the streets: Following his leave announcement, the streets of Puerto Rico burst into jubilant chants and cheers of ‘Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!’ after days of boisterous protests and clashes with police
Protesters in San Juan erupted in tears and cheers following Rosselló’s resignation announcement Wednesday evening
The people of Puerto Rico had demonstrated in the streets for 12 consecutive days calling for Rosselló to step down after messages between the governor and his top aides were leaked and revealed misogynistic and homophobic comments and corruption
The crowd was heard chanting. ‘Ricky, te botamos!’ meaning ‘Ricky, we threw you out!’ Wednesday evening after the resignation announcement
People pictured celebrating in the streets of Old San Juan after the Governor caved to public pressure and announced his resignation, which will take effect August 2
Joy rippled through the streets of San Juan after Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday evening, caving into pressure from politicians and the public to step down. Protesters celebrating in San Juan pictured above
For 12 consecutive days tens of thousands of people, including Puerto Rican celebrities like Ricky Martin, trap star Bad Bunny and rapper Residente, took to the streets to demand Rosselló step down.
Monday’s gathering made history as one of the largest in the island’s history where more than half a million people inundated San Juan’s streets and the protest ended with police firing tear gas at demonstrators.
‘After the birth of my son, this is the happiest day of my life,’ said René Pérez Joglar, also known as the rapper Residente, said Wednesday following the resignation.
Following his leave announcement Wednesday evening the streets of Puerto Rico, once filled with outraged shouts of protest, burst into jubilant cheers of joy.
‘Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!’ the people chanted, a stark contrast from the days prior of boisterous demonstrations and clashes with police.
The crowd was heard chanting, ‘Ricky, te botamos!’ meaning ‘Ricky, we threw you out!’
Rosselló resigned in a video published on Facebook Wednesday evening follow 10 days of public protests, including a demonstration on Monday that was the largest in the island’s history. Pictured watching his TV-aired resignation
For 12 days the streets of Puerto Rico were scenes of angry, bitter protests. Wednesday night they transformed into celebrations of joy upon hearing their dissent led Rosselló to resign
Rapper Residente celebrates Rosselló’s resignation in the streets of San Juan
Hearing the news: Protesters bearing the Puerto Rican flag listen in on Rosselló’s message as it was aired live
Locals listen on a smart phone to the pre-recorded message by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announcing that he is resigning on August 2
In his Facebook resignation he touted his accomplishments during his time in office and boasted that he used his power to fight corruption and help different communities.
Rosselló, who was elected in 2016, gave in to the mounting pressure from the public and politicians alike to step down from his first-term governor seat despite issuing multiple statements saying he would not, determined to remain in office through January 2021.
Just three days earlier Rosselló shared a Facebook video announcement saying he would not step down as governor and instead would not seek re-election next year and would step down as head of the New Progressive Party, but that did not pacify the public.
Over the past two weeks he saw a sudden exodus of members of his cabinet and staff in light of the scandal, including the secretary of state, the head of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, the director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, his chief of staff and his press secretary, according to the Miami Herald.
Rosselló is the U.S. commonwealth’s first governor to resign.
The resignation comes after Puerto Rican lawmakers were seeking to impeach him, starting the process as soon as Thursday.
His resignation comes after 10 days of public protests demanding he step down after texts between the Governor and his aides were leaked
Protesters demonstrated for days near the governor’s mansion chanting ‘Ricky, Renuncia’ meaning ‘Ricky, Resign’
The news comes after attorneys commissioned by PR’s House of Representatives found five offenses that constituted grounds for impeachment
Resident (left) and Bad Bunny (right) participate in a march Monday seeking the resignation of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló
Ricky Martin, holding a rainbow banner, flashes a thumbs up as he joins in with thousands of Puerto Ricans irate with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Monday
Hundreds of thousands of people, including some who took off work, protested in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday
Following the leak, Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives commissioned three attorneys to investigate whether any crimes were committed and they unanimously found five offenses that constituted the grounds for impeachment, as per NBC.
The attorneys found that Rosselló had committed four serious offenses and one misdemeanor – including illicitly using public resources and services for partisan purposes and allowing government officials and contractors to misuse public funds and time for non-government work.
Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives president Carlos Mendez Nunez announced a meeting set for Thursday afternoon to begin that impeachment process.
Reports of his planned resignation first broke on Tuesday after local news outlets reported Puerto Rico’s Justice Department issued search warrants to confiscate the cell phones of several people involved in the leaked private chats.
Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez will become the next governor of Puerto Rico
Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation comes as Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives was seeking to impeach him
The 900 pages of text messages on the encrypted messaging app Telegram was obtained by the Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism and posted on July 13.
Timeline of Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation
July 13: The Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism obtained and published 900 pages of text messages sent on the app Telegram between Rosselló and his aides
July 14: Protests take over the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico
July 22: The largest protest in Puerto Rico’s history takes place as more than half a million protesters inundate the streets of San Juan and police deploy tear gas
July 23: News breaks that Puerto Rico’s Justice Department is starting impeachment process against Rosselló and search warrants are issued to confiscate cell phones of several people involved in the leaked chats
July 24: Rosselló announces his resignation effective August 2 in a recorded video posted on Facebook
In those chats Rosselló and his aides used homophobic slurs when discussing Puerto Rican music star Ricky Martin, insulted San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz saying she was ‘off her meds’ and Rosselló said he was ‘salivating’ to shoot her, referred to former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as a ‘whore’ and joked about the corpses piling up in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The chats also shed light on Rosselló’s efforts to bring down his political opponents.
The leak also opened local and federal probes which resulted in the arrests of several former officials and government contractors on charges spanning alleged fraud involving federal funding.
Following the scandal, a slew of politicians have urged Rosselló to step down, including President Donald Trump.
Protesters in Puerto Rico say that Rosselló resignation is a first for the island – a historic challenge to the political structure dominated by two parties: the New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party.
‘Rosselló is a symptom of a much deeper problem,’ Cynthia García Coll, a psychologist who teaches at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, said to CNN.