ActivismWe See You

the people of puerto rico will be heard

July 24, 2019
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“Ricky, renuncia, el pueblo te repudia!”
“Ricky, resign, the people reject you”.

In Puerto Rico the sounds of the people are all you can hear at the moment. After an overwhelmingly tragic year, the public disclosure of corrupt government chats have caused the people of Puerto Rico to make their voices speak loud.

The world has followed the crises on the Caribbean island for the past year, from Hurricane Maria to the horrendous aftermath. Though there’s been a year-long power outage, thousands of deaths, layoffs, school closings, and extreme economic hardships, the people have remained hopeful, and now they’re starting trouble, the good kind.

When Hurricane Maria killed thousands of people, they endured. When Puerto Rico was left with minimal aid and Donald Tr*mp had the audacity to say, “‘The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the Governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous. (…) I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success,’” they endured. When Tr*mp so disgustingly threw paper towel into a crowd of Puerto Ricans as if it were a prize, the people kept going. When some parts of Puerto Rico have ben left with no electrical power for AN ENTIRE YEAR, they stayed true. So what could it possibly take for enough to be enough? What could be the last straw? Mockery by someone they put their faith in. 

A demonstrator with make up depicting tears running down her face before the start of a massive march on July 22, 2019 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There have been calls for the Governor to step down after it was revealed that he and top aides were part of a private chat group that contained among other messages misogynistic and homophobic messages. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

What instigated this time for a change? Over the past week or so, some harsh truths about who is running Puerto Rico have been exposed. After the natural disaster of Hurricane Maria has come the man-made storm. While Tr*mp refused to send additional money for disaster relief funding, what little money did flow in was used irresponsibly, and Puerto Ricans know their government well enough to know who was responsible: Ricky.

Though people are skeptical of all government officials in PR, Governor Ricardo Rosselló, elected in 2017, gave the people hope. He was a member of the progressive PNP party, an advocate for statehood, and was supposed to be for the people. That is until 889 pages of leaked chats between the governor and his closest aids were published. In these texts, Rosselló makes a complete mockery of his people with homophobic, sexist, inexcusable comments, and going so far as to ridicule supporters (including making fatphobic comments about a young overweight man whom he met at a photo-op). The chats also revealed the extent to which the Governor ceded decision-making to lobbyists and close friends, and that some of the Rosselló’s friends industry friends had access to exclusive information with the Governor’s knowledge.

This is where the people’s endurance came to an end. Time for immediate aftermath. If what the Governor was selling was a complete lie, then perhaps so were the cliches that permeate around Puerto Rico that being “loud” is for criminals, or for the violent. Maybe people who protested should not be shunned, which had been the government’s plan to keep the people silent. Well, no more. The people are awake, and they are not letting up. The Governor has already announced that he will not be running again for another term but the people want more, right now. “Ricky, renuncia, el pueblo te repudia!”

On Wednesday, it was announced that Ricky is expected to resign.