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Puerto Rico, After #RickyRenuncia

Demonstrators participate in a march the day after the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his charge in San Juan.
Demonstrators participate in a march the day after the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his charge in San Juan.

Protesters took to the streets in Puerto Rico, demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló after leaked text messages revealed that he mocked the mayor of San Juan, those who died in Hurricane Maria and others.

Less than two weeks later, they got what they requested.

— Adrián Florido (@adrianflorido) July 25, 2019

But now that Rosselló said he would resign, who will lead the country?

We thought it might be Wanda Vázquez Garced, the current justice secretary.

But on Twitter last weekend, she said she didn’t want the job.

In addition, there were some about her leadership from protesters.

The Washington Post spoke to Mildred Breton, a woman who joined the demonstrations. She said “Wanda Vázquez is a necessary evil…but the expectation is that she remains in office the least amount of time possible. She is part of the problem and not a solution.”

More from The Post about the challenges ahead for Puerto Rico’s new leader:

Puerto Rico is in the throes of a controversial bankruptcy process involving billions of dollars in debt that, once negotiated, would mean the cash-strapped government will have to start making payments. Congress is considering stricter oversight measures for federal disbursements, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that it is asking the central government to seek approval and provide supporting documents to draw down any grant money.

Meanwhile, the protesters — and young people, in particular — are vowing to hit the streets again if Puerto Rican elected officials install a governor they disapprove of. Drawn out instability, local leaders fear, could bring unwanted federal intervention.

The political turmoil has caused increased scrutiny on Puerto Rico’s position as a U.S. territory. If Puerto Rico had statehood, it would have two U.S. senators and four delegates to the House of Representatives. But at present, it has only one representative, Jenniffer González-Colón.

From a New York Times profile of her:

Ms. González-Colón’s news releases refer to her as “congresswoman,” but her official title is resident commissioner, which means she has far less power than others in the House of Representatives. She can propose legislation and vote on bills in committees and on the House floor, but with a telling asterisk: Should her ballot be the deciding one, the House votes again — this time without her participation.

We analyze the political situation in Puerto Rico and answer your questions about what’s ahead for the island.


Leyla Santiago, Correspondent, CNN; based in San Juan, Puerto Rico; @leylasantiago

Yarimar Bonilla, Professor of Puerto Rican Studies and Anthropology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.; author, “Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment”; @yarimarbonilla

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5