Issue #49: The corruption behind the Telegram messages, Wanda Vázquez doesn't want to be the next governor and more...
People dance and sing in New York City’s Union Square Park on July 25, the day after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned. Photo by Bianca Fortis.
Puerto Rico made history last week when, after 12 days of violent protests in San Juan, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned following the publication of chat transcripts between him and senior officials. (Sandra Lilley, Nicole Acevedo and Laura Barbosa / NBC Latino) Here’s a timeline of the events that took place over the last three weeks. (Nicole Chavez / CNN)
The protests were ignited by the publication of 889 pages of Telegram chat transcripts, published by el Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, a small investigative news outlet on the island. The transcripts revealed crude and offensive messages, including an allusion to shooting San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz. “Our reporting connected people’s suffering to the administration. It was like a stew that has been bubbling for a long time, and then it finally boiled over.” – CPI Executive Director Carla Minet (Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post) Here is CPI’s original reporting on the transcripts. (Luis J. Valentín Ortiz and Carla Minet / Centro de Periodismo Investigativo)
In a follow-up to its reporting on the Telegram transcripts, CPI also found that, with the governor’s knowledge, senior government officials were running a corruption scheme involving millions of dollars of public funds. (Omaya Sosa Pascual and Luis J. Valentín Ortiz / Centro de Periodismo Investigativo)
Around the world, Puerto Rico is being heralded as an example of democracy in action. Here’s an explainer on the island’s long history of direct action in times of political unrest. (Dan Berger and Carly Goodman / Washington Post) And the Boston Globe says Puerto Rico has given the world a “master class on mobilization.” (Rita Indiana / Boston Globe)
Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez is next in line to be governor, but announced she has “no interest” in the position, and requested that the outgoing governor, Ricardo Rosselló, select someone else. (John Bacon / USA Today)
The New York Times profiles Jenniffer González-Colón, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, who could conceivably be selected as Puerto Rico’s next governor. (Michael Wines / New York Times)
Videos and photos of the protests showed police spraying tear gas, firing rubber-coated metal pellets and using batons against some of the participants. (Evan Hill and Ainara Tiefenthäler / New York Times)
The federal government has been slow to send FEMA aid to Puerto Rico, and people worry that the ousting of Rosselló, as well as the arrests of certain members of his cabinet, may make the situation worse. “Hundreds of thousands of poor families are suffering ... The question for me and the leadership of Puerto Rico is how to restore that credibility.” – Eduardo Bhatia, a Puerto Rico senator 2020 candidate for governor (Nick Brown / Reuters)
→ "People in Puerto Rico are Suffering": La Cordillera Central has Been Begging for Help Since Maria Hit
“It is frustrating. It's really frustrating and this is the real Puerto Rico. It is not the beaches. It's not the piña colada. This is Puerto Rico. And the people in Puerto Rico are suffering.” –Utuado Mayor Ernesto Irizarry Salva (David Begnaud / CBS News)
A new Pew Research Center report shows that Puerto Rico’s populations did, as expected, decline sharply after the hurricanes of 2017. Data reported by the Center show a 3.9% decline, the largest year-to-year drop since 1950. (Antonio Flores and Jens Manuel Krogstad / Pew Research Center)