After weeks of protest, there's been a change in leadership in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Late Wednesday, July 24, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico announced via Facebook that he would be stepping down following weeks of calls for his resignation. Now, these videos of Puerto Rico after Ricardo Rosselló's resignation are showing nothing short of a full blown party.
On the evening of Wednesday, July 24, Gov. Rosselló took to Facebook to announce that he would be resigning on August 2 at 5 p.m. ET. During his announcement, he acknowledged residents' protests against him and stated he's received them with "humility." He said,
My only priority has been the transformation of our island and the well-being of our people. The demands have been overwhelming and I've received them with highest degree of humility.
Residents of Puerto Rico have been protesting for 12 days against Rosselló, after Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism published a series of offensive group messages between Rosselló and his staff on July 12 and 13. The messages showed the governor and others using homophobic and misogynistic language; disparaging victims of Hurricane Maria, the Category Five hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017; and even joking about shooting San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. Following the release of the first batch of messages, Rosselló offered an apology in a July 12 press conference, saying that it was a "private chat" and he had been releasing tension after long workdays. Representatives of the governor did not previously respond to Elite Daily's request for additional comment. Rosselló stepping down marks the first resignation from a Puerto Rico governor in the island's history, and comes one day ahead of the 121st anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico, which led to the island's annexation as a U.S. territory.
Following Rosselló's resignation, Puerto Ricans celebrated the move in streets across the island.
Puerto Ricans on the island weren't the only ones celebrating Rosselló stepping down. One Twitter user posted a video of Puerto Ricans based in Chicago also cheering for this historic moment.
Once Rosselló's resignation takes effect on Aug. 2, Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez is expected to take his place. However, reports state Puerto Ricans are likely to protest against her new role as governor as well.
According to Newsweek, Vázquez worked for the island territory's Department of Housing (DOH) in the 1980's. She's also served as a district attorney for the Department of Justice (DOJ) for 20 years, specializing in domestic and sexual abuse cases. In 2010, Vázquez was appointed the head of the office of women's rights, but was criticized for alleged "lack of commitment" to human rights during her time there. She was nominated by Rosselló as the secretary of justice, and was sworn into her position in January 2017.
Despite Vázquez's political résumé, protestors have claimed her work aligns too closely to Rosselló's, and it's highly likely residents will protest against her nomination. On Thursday, July 24, one protestor, Zoe Alva, told Reuters that change will only happen within Puerto Rico if everyone in the main government steps down. "We need to clean house entirely," she said.
Rosselló will remain in office for the next few days in order to prepare for Vázquez's transition into office, but judging by reports, it's unlikely these protests will be ending anytime soon. In the meantime, Puerto Ricans are celebrating the changeup.
It may be a long journey until Puerto Ricans are completely satisfied, but Rosselló's resignation marks a huge moment in the island's history. Who knows what the future has in store.