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Puerto Rico's Protests Explained

After a series of political scandals and over a million residents - basically one third of Puerto Rico's population protesting, Ricardo Rossello finally announces his resignation. For all my folks that don't know, Puerto Rico government has been corrupt for years. I can honestly say I am so proud of Puerto Rico for standing strong in their beliefs and the power is within the people! Lets go a little more in depth on the Puerto Rican protests:


Ricardo Rossello Corruptions

  • Earlier this month, the FBI arrested two former cabinet members in Rossello government as part of a corruption probe over their handling of $15.5 million in post-hurricane contracts. They are accused of funneling the government contracts to businesses they had personal ties to.

  • There were leaked messages of the governor joking about Hurricane Maria and the deaths. He also made homophobic slurs, tried to cover up the number of deaths in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria (over 3,000 people died), while also ridiculing political rivals with sexiest and violent language.

This was clearly the last straw for them. Puerto Rico has been dealing with a lot such as bankruptcy ($70 billion in debt), lack of aid from the US after Hurricane Maria, 13 years of economic recession which led to half a million people to the US mainland, and constant government corruptions. Aside from that many are furious from many schools closing and pension cuts as well.




Protests

In the aftermath of the leaked text messages many Puerto Ricans began to protest - over 1 million residents wanted him out! On top of that many politicians asked him to resign including one of his biggest donors, who owns the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. Many protestors spray painted walls of the capital with messages while other started peacefully protesting by doing yoga, paddle boarding, painting bodies with messages, and so many more things in light of the protests.





Resignation

Last Sunday, Rossello stated he will not seek reelection in 2020 but that wasn't enough for the Puerto Ricans, as the protesting grew, he needed to bounce NOW! It wasn't until today, July 24th he decided to resign from his position that will take effect on August 2nd. In the aftermath of his resignation, protestors in Old San Juan cried and chanted with joy. Many dancing and hugging one another with the Puerto Rican flag high and proud.


The Future of Puerto Rico

Now, how will this effect the future of Puerto Rico? One thing I know is they have hope. If anybody knows the hardships Puerto Rico has been through these past decades then this is a great first step to making a change for the future. This has been one of the biggest protests in Puerto Rico since putting an end to US Navy training on the island of Vieques. Its been over two years since Hurricane Maria struck this beautiful island and a lot of the money that was aided for it wasn't used for the people or the land. While Puerto Ricans are American citizens, they do not have the same right as people in the US. There is still an ongoing discussion onto wether it would join the US in becoming the 51st state, remains a commonwealth, or gain complete independence. In the light of this, I know this is a huge stepping stone and only good things can happen after this.





-juntos permaneceremos, divididos caeremos

together we stand, divided we fall

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