The biggest political crisis in the history of the island of Puerto Rico is in full effect. It all started on July 8th, when an unsourced leak revealed Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello, along with about a dozen other government officials, used inappropriate language within a Telegram group chat. Five days later, the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (Center for Investigative Journalism) made public all 889 pages of the apparent chatroom between Governor Rossello and his associates. This is when the protests began.
Puerto Rico has been under the control of a corrupt government for years. From improper use of federal funds, to hurricane relief rotting in government offices, to taking bribes from exotic strip clubs in order to expedite electrical service restoration. Puerto Rico has seen a revolving door of corruption for decades, and its citizens have finally said enough is enough.
The protests going on for the past few weeks are not merely about what was said in a group chat, or even what a single person did. These protests are about wanting a better government for everyone that lives within this country. These protests signify what true democracy is about, and defining the phrase, “No one is above the law.”
The people of Puerto Rico have forced the top two executive officials, Governor and Secretary of State, to resign from office and are on the way to ousting Wanda Vazquez, who is next in line to be Governor. Many might think that this is not in anyway important to Americans here on the mainland, but it’s actually the exact opposite.
This movement shows the power of the people, the power of peaceful protest, and also shows how the government truly belongs to the people no matter what anyone says. For those who are into activism of any kind, this is a great example of how simply speaking up for what you believe can change the lives of millions.
On the morning of July 25th,2019, Ricardo Rossello resigned his position as Governor, giving the people of Puerto Rico something to celebrate. To many, this means the end of a corrupt government and a successful revolution that was done by the people on the island. However in reality, this is only the beginning of the process.
Since Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin resigned on July 16th as a result of what is being dubbed “Rickyleaks,” Justice Secretary Wanda Vazques is test to take on the post of Governor, effective August 2nd. However, Vazquez herself has a questionable past, having been accused of criminal charges along with potentially hiding much of the corruption going on within the Rosello Administration.
If the people of Puerto Rico continue to hold government officials accountable, while it being good for democracy, may actually lead to a constitutional crisis, given that Puerto Rico has a short line of succession.
After all that has happened to the island at this point, the best solution for the island would be for the President of the Puerto Rico Senate to temporarily hold power, and call for a new election for Governor. Boricuas would finally have the opportunity to have their voice heard by a government that is picked by them, and put in power because of them. Support from the United States government would also give the commonwealth a much needed boost—both financially and institutionally.
No matter what side of this issue you are on, it is undeniable that this is a moment in history for the island known as “the Island of Enchantment.”
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.