Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned Wednesday night after his government and the country spent the day under a cloud of uncertainty. He said his resignation would take effect on Friday, August 2 and Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez will succeed him.
Rosselló addressed the island Wednesday night via a Facebook Live statement.
“My only priority has been the transformation of our island and the well-being of our people,” said Rosselló, adding: “The demands have been overwhelming and I’ve received them with highest degree of humility.”
Thousands protested outside the governor’s mansion in San Juan Wednesday night, the 12th night of demonstrations. Protesters celebrated after Rosselló’s announcement.
Local media reported Tuesday Rosselló would resign on Wednesday, and reporters were called to the press room in the governor’s mansion at one point, CBS News’ David Begnaud reports. The reporters were then sent outside, and one official said Rosselló was preparing a speech, but did not say what it would cover.
Meanwhile, dozens of police and corrections officers, some decked out in riot gear, were on the scene. Puerto Rico’s largest news outlet reported Wednesday that Rosselló made a deal to resign but has since gone back on the deal.
The speaker of the legislature is meeting with the caucus to start the process of impeachment if Rosselló does not resign, Begnaud reported.
Earlier this week, Rosselló relinquished his role as president of one of the two main political parties in Puerto Rico and vowed not to seek reelection in 2020.
But that was not enough for many Puerto Ricans. On Monday, hundreds of thousands paralyzed the capital, marching to call for the governor’s immediate resignation.
The crowds employed creative forms of dissent, including demonstrations on horseback and jet skis. And they were often joined by high-profile Puerto Rican celebrities like Ricky Martin and reggaeton artist Bad Bunny. Their calls for Rosselló’s resignation received the backing of many members of Congress, the island’s non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives and several of the two-dozen Democrats running for president.