Union and social organization leaders on the island demand Governor Rossello's resignation, as well as a nationwide state of emergency.
Protests in Puerto Rico ensue for the seventh consecutive day, as locals demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello after a scandal came to light in mid-June, revealing the official has lead a racist, misogynist smear campaign against his competitors and journalists.
Trade unions and civil society organizations joined the movement Friday, answering the call made by Angel Figueroa Jaramillo, president of the Union Workers of the Electricity and Irrigation Industry (Utier).
During a press conference Thursday, Figueroa, citing the country’s epidemic of gender violence, said demonstrators would request governmental officials declare a state of emergency, that the “Promesa” debt-restructuring law be repealed, the state of bankruptcy be put on hold during the current crisis and that the agreements made with bondholders be annulled until the debt is audited.
General Workers Union (UGT) President Gerson Guzman told local media outlet, El Vocero, that if the governor had accomplished anything during his tenure, it was to unite Puerto Ricans in their protests against the island leader.
The protest was to begin at 5:00 p.m. local time in San Juan.
Organizers encouraged participants “wherever they are” to “upload their videos in protest to social networks, and so spread the message."
Demonstrators are not only protesting the repeal of legislation, but corrupt and unethical behavior on part of Rossello and government officials in his inner circle.
On July 13, an 889-page document, released by the non-profit journalism group Center for Investigative Journalism, revealed how the governor, along with other high-ranking members of his office, manipulated public opinion about Rossello's administration through mass media, creating a “troll network” to discredit negative press coverage, criticism from opposition leaders, and even journalists.
Not only is the governor accused of the smear campaign, but July 10, a pair of his ex-senior administration officials were arrested and charged with fraud for abusing federal work contracts from the Department of Education and the Health Insurance Administration (ASES) and other state departments. According to reports, the three corruption cases amount to US$15.5 million in stolen state funds.