Did you know that for 11 straight days Puerto Ricans have been protesting all over the island, demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello.
One of the sparks that lit the fire in PR came from the release of racists, sexist, and homophobic messages between Rossello and 11 top aides. Puerto Ricans are displaying their fury by taking to the streets and calling for Rossello’s immediate resignation.
This is not the beginning of PR residents’ discontent. Puerto Rico has been dealing with high unemployment, coupled with ongoing debt. As you can see from the chart below, Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate has been consistently higher than in mainland US states.
After Hurricane Maria swept the island in September 2017, some waited 11 months for power to be restored. Delayed federal aid has done little to alleviate the issues. Rossello drew criticism when his administration granted a small company from Montana a $300 million contract to help clean up Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Several officials were arrested for corruption just days before the messages came to light. These officials funneled $15.5 million to unqualified, personally connected vendors.
The two former Puerto Rico leaders — Julia Keleher, who was the secretary of the island’s department of education before stepping down in April, and Ángela Ávila-Marrero, who led Puerto Rico’s Health Insurance Administration until last month — were arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday.
Prosecutors wrote in the indictment that the conspiracy involved the two former public officials giving four associates an inside track to contracts.
Once secured, authorities say the contractors benefited by paying “unauthorized commissions” to other individuals to lobby government for more contracts, a dynamic authorities described as “a corrupt bidding process.”
TYT’s Ana Kasparian, Brooke Thomas, and Francesca Fiorentini discussed this issue on July 16. See the video below.
CBSN also covered the story:
The population of PR has been dwindling due to the lack of jobs and the ongoing conditions these citizens of the United States have been forced to live under.
The protesters have vowed to keep the pressure on Rossello, although he has stated he will not run for re-election. They want him gone now.
Did you now?