SAN JUAN (Reuters) - Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló was weighing his political future on Wednesday after almost two weeks of protests demanding his resignation over the publication of offensive chat messages and a corruption scandal, his spokesman said.
Rosselló, a first-term governor in his first elected office, has resisted calls to step down over a scandal local media have dubbed “Rickyleaks.” Media, including El Nuevo Día newspaper, cited unnamed sources as saying his resignation was imminent.
“He stated yesterday he is in a process of reflection, and listening to the people,” the governor’s spokesman Anthony Maceira said in a text message to Reuters. “Whichever decision he makes will, as always, be communicated officially.”
Protesters had cheered the reports of a possible resignation late on Tuesday but warned that Rosselló’s departure would not end the demonstrations that were now entering their 12th day.
The island of 3.2 million people has been rocked by multiple crises in recent years, including a bankruptcy filing and a devastating hurricane in 2017 that killed about 3,000 people.
If Rosselló steps down, his replacement as the U.S. territory’s leader would likely be Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez, whom many protesters reject because of her ties to the 40-year-old governor.
A string of Rosselló’s closest aides have stepped down as prosecutors investigated the scandal. The governor’s chief of staff Ricardo Llerandi resigned on Tuesday, citing concerns for the safety of his family.
The scandal erupted at about the same time as federal investigators charged two former high-ranking Puerto Rico government officials with conspiracy.
The protests in the capital San Juan were spurred by the publication on July 13 of chat messages here on the messaging app Telegram, in which Rosselló and aides used profane language to describe female politicians and gay Puerto Rican celebrities, including Ricky Martin. ...