As mass street protests demanding his immediate resignation intensified over the weekend and are expected to continue growing Monday, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló stepped down as head of his party on Sunday and announced he will not seek reelection in 2020 — but stopped short of leaving his post.
“To every Puerto Rican man and every Puerto Rican woman, I’ve heard you and I hear you today,” Rosselló said during a Facebook livestream. “I’ve made mistakes and I have apologized.”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who is running for governor in 2020, tweeted in response to Rosselló’s remarks: “It is not enough. He needs to go!”
Rosselló’s announcement came over a week after the publication of nearly 900 pages of conversations between the governor and his aides, which contained racist and sexist messages and mockery of the victims of Hurricane Maria.
The revelations were met with outrage and sparked a flood of demonstrations calling on Rosselló to step down immediately.
Next up — bomba, traditional dance, in front of La Fortaleza, calling for governor’s resignation. pic.twitter.com/naWxabuisk
— Leyla Santiago (@leylasantiago) July 21, 2019
Every night at 8pm people across the island are stepping out onto balconies, into courtyards, into the streets and banging pots and pans for an hour or more. ’Caserolazos’ are a Latin-American tradition but have never happened in PR. They’ll continue until Gov. Rosselló resigns. pic.twitter.com/w7h6mjui1n
— Adrián Florido (@adrianflorido) July 22, 2019
Rosselló’s decision Sunday came just hours ahead of what is “expected to be one of the biggest protests ever seen” in Puerto Rico, according to the Associated Press.
“Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to take over one of the island’s busiest highways Monday morning to press demands for the resignation of Rosselló over an obscenity-laced leaked online chat the governor had with allies as well as federal corruption charges leveled against his administration,” AP reported.
Monday will mark the 10th consecutive day of widespread street demonstrations against Rosselló. Johanna Soto, a Puerto Rico resident, told AP that the protests will continue until the governor steps aside.
“The people are not going to go away,” said Soto. “That’s what he’s hoping for, but we outnumber him.”