U.S. lawmakers demand Puerto Rico governor resign as protests roil island

21 Juillet, 2019, 02:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Gabriella N. Baez  Reuters

Thousands of people, including artistes such as Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Residente, Tommy Torres and Oscar-winner Benicio del Toro, demanded the resignation of the Governor of Puerto Rico after a private chat containing homophobic comments was leaked, triggering a severe political crisis on the island.

The chats, from a Telegram message group and referring mainly to politicians and officials, were published on Saturday.

"I've been standing with the people of Puerto Rico in their protests against corruption and their governor's behavior", she tweeted.

Presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) traveled to the territory Friday, saying she was taking a stand against a local government that was "of, by and for the rich and powerful".

Widespread demonstrations in Puerto Rico calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló continue to the percussion sounds of Bomba and Plena, while Puerto Ricans plan another massive protest on Monday along a main highway in San Juan.

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Rossello, who is affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Party, has refused to step down but said he would hold an emergency meeting with leaders of Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party, which he leads. The group has ten days to deliver its findings.

The violence and political turmoil comes at a critical stage in the US territory's bankruptcy process.

In a report published on Friday, Puerto Rico's influential bar association cited clear grounds to impeach the 40-year-old former scientist, based on the "depravity" of the messages. It has also raised concerns with USA lawmakers who are weighing the island's requests for billions of federal dollars for healthcare and for recovery efforts following devastating hurricanes in 2017.

While opposition legislators back impeachment, the process has yet to gain critical support from lawmakers in Rossello's ruling party.

"The island can not afford to lose already approved federal resources, nor the ones we are working to obtain", Gonzalez said in her letter to Rossello urging him to step aside.

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