Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) joined the chorus of voices today calling for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to step down, as the protests against the embattled governor continue on the island.
“I have thought long and hard on the crisis of governance in Puerto Rico, both as a Puerto Rican woman and as a U.S. Member of Congress. I have a profound respect both for the institutions of democracy and for the sovereignty of the Island’s people,” she said in a statement. “I have long held – and continue to believe - that the Governor should be held accountable by the people of Puerto Rico and that they must exercise their power in determining the path forward.
Velázquez said federal funds were at stake. “As protests have grown along with the scope of the scandals, and as we have learned more of the pervasively misogynistic and sexist language and attitudes, it has become increasingly difficult to remain silent. Today, I believe that the scandals emanating from the Governor’s Administration imperil future federal assistance, meaning the people of Puerto Rico who have done nothing wrong, could pay the price for the corruption of the few,” she added.
“Moreover, the clear expressions by representatives of all political parties, members of Puerto Rico’s civil society, especially women, the Puerto Rico religious community, labor unions, revered artists and sports figures, and Puerto Ricans from all walks of life have established that this is an exceptional situation of crisis of governance.
“Given all these factors, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that it is time for the Governor to resign. I add my voice in solidarity with those marching in the streets of San Juan and all the Puerto Rican people who are demanding change. Coming to this conclusion gives me no joy because, as a federal official, I have been reluctant to interfere with Puerto Rico’s internal affairs. However, given recent developments, I see it as the only path forward to bring a close to this sad chapter in our beloved Island’s history,” she said.
The protests started after 889 pages of the governor’s private Telegram chat were published, showing sexist, misogynistic and homophobic language. The chat scandal came in the wake of the arrest of six former government officials who were indicted on federal corruption charges.