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One of the many pieces of art to come out of Puerto Rico's protest for Ricardo Rosselló's resignation.
One of the many pieces of art to come out of Puerto Rico's protest for Ricardo Rosselló's resignation.

The March of the People of Puerto Rico is historic

After refusing to step down as governor, Ricardo Rosselló will now face the largest protest in Puerto Rico’s history.

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On Sunday night, the disgraced Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, gave up little ground in the face of continued demands for his resignation. In a Facebook post, Rosselló announced he would step down as president of his New Progressive Party and would not seek a second term in the November 2020 elections.

However, Rosselló also kept with the message that he would not step down as the current governor.

“A significant sector of population has been protesting for days. I’m aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort they feel. Only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors,” he said in the video.

In response, the “significant sector of population” organized the largest protest in the island’s history. The “Marcha del Pueblo”, or March of the People taking place Monday looks to have hundreds of thousands of participants after Rosselló’s comments. 

The protest started Monday morning at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, and will probably result in the shut down of all of the country’s major roadways. Many businesses also closed in preparation for the march.

Puerto Rican stars Ricky Martin and Residente of Calle 13 said they were attending the march on Sunday night. They’ve been two of the loudest voices against Rosselló along with others like Bad Bunny and Hamilton playwright Lin Manuel-Miranda.

"Rossello's message (yesterday) is hugely disrespectful to the people of Puerto Rico. You are not our governor. Puerto Rico has no governor, just so you know,” said Residente. 

While President Trump called the governor's situation as "under siege", Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers have also called for Roselló’s resignation.

A growing demand that has gained steam over the last couple of days and one that will be heard loud and clear on Monday is the call for Rosselló’s impeachment. Three lawyers have been appointed to investigate the viability of an impeachment claim.

Martin voiced his support for the action in a Facebook video, but leaders in the government are split on the issue. 

“Ricardo Rosselló, you are not only a cynic, I had already said that, but you are also Machiavellian. The only thing you have done with this message last night is play with the mental health of the Puerto Rican people,” Martin said.

“I demand that the legislative powers in our country start the process of impeachment. If he doesn’t want to go, it is the only option we have left,” he said. 

Thomas Rivera-Schatz, who will take over the leadership of Rosselló’s party, said his actions have “put an end to the controversies and trauma hitting our people,” but Puerto Rico’s Speaker of the House, Carlos Mendez Nuñez, said he welcomes the pending investigation and will confront its outcome “with complete truth.”

The investigation will focus on the inflammatory leaked chats that spawned the calls for Rosselló’s resignation and will analyze them for any conflicts of interest or law violations.

But for the time being, Rosselló can watch the power of the people who are no longer his defend a country that no longer wants him.

 

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