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An Anxious Puerto Rico Waits: Will the Governor Resign?

Protesters called for the ouster of Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico outside La Fortaleza, the governor’s official residence in San Juan on Wednesday.

In the chat, one...

In the chat, one of Mr. Rosselló’s aides joked about using the overflow of bodies at the island’s morgues as bait for the administration’s foes: “Don’t we have some cadavers to feed our crows?”

Anger at such tone-deaf exchanges united Puerto Ricans of all stripes, including many who had never protested before. Popular musicians rallied millions of fans[1] on social media. The artists known as Residente, iLe and Bad Bunny produced a protest song, “Afilando los Cuchillos” (Sharpening the Knives), that became a street anthem. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans escalated the uprising on Monday by shutting down a major highway[2] in San Juan.

“We’re sick of the corruption, of the abuse,” said Misael Correa Robles, 26, a college student from Carolina, P.R., who attended the protests. “It’s been decades of this.”

On Wednesday morning, the walls of Calle Fortaleza, the street leading to the governor’s official residence, were blanketed with political graffiti that read like a wish list: “The Day After the Resignation: Celebrate! End the Junta. Total Transparency. Investigate the Criminals.”

Alejandro Santiago Calderón, 30, said that the leaked Telegram messages confirmed what many Puerto Ricans had suspected about the governor and his political allies — that they had disdain for the public. Like many others, he said the governor’s potential resignation would not be enough to quell his sense that the island’s political establishment needed to be shaken up.

“This has to change, and it has to change from the top all the way to the bottom,” he said.

The stunning events of the past two weeks have felt like a turning point after Puerto Ricans had endured years of economic pain. A recession on the island has lasted more than a decade. Hundreds of thousands of people have left. A debt crisis has bankrupted the government. Congress placed Puerto Rico’s finances under the control of a federal oversight board. Then came the hurricane. Some people were without electricity for almost a year afterward[3].

References

  1. ^ rallied millions of fans (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ shutting down a major highway (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ were without electricity for almost a year afterward (www.nytimes.com)

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