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Puerto Rico Governor Resigning Over Chat-Message Scandal

Ricardo Rossello will leave office Aug. 2
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 25, 2019 12:15 AM CDT
Updated Jul 25, 2019 5:50 AM CDT
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People celebrate outside the governor's mansion La Fortaleza, after Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced that he is resigning Aug. 2 after weeks of protests over leaked obscene, misogynistic online chats, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, July 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo)
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(Newser) – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said late Wednesday that he will resign Aug. 2 after nearly two weeks of furious protests and political upheaval touched off by a leak of crude and insulting chat messages between him and his top advisers. A crowd of demonstrators outside the governor's mansion in Old San Juan erupted into cheers and singing after his announcement on Facebook just before midnight, the AP reports. Addressing the protests, Rosselló said, "The demands have been overwhelming and I've received them with highest degree of humility." The obscenity-laced online messages involving the governor and 11 other men infuriated Puerto Ricans already frustrated with corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis, and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.

In reaction to the messages, tens of thousands took to the streets to demand Rosselló's resignation in Puerto Rico's biggest demonstrations since the protests that put an end to US Navy training on the island of Vieques more than 15 years ago. Rosselló, a Democrat elected in 2016, is the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a US territory of more than 3 million American citizens. Under Puerto Rico's constitution, the secretary of state would normally assume the governorship, but since Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín became one of more than a dozen officials to resign in the uproar over the leak, leadership of the island will fall to Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez. She will become Puerto Rico's second female governor.

(Read more Puerto Rico stories.)

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