Embattled Puerto Rico governor resigns; protests turn into celebrations in San Juan

VIDEO: Embattled Puerto Rico governor announces resignation, protests turn to celebrations in San Juan

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced on Facebook late Wednesday that he will resign Aug. 2 after mounting pressure from protests.

Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez was on the island among protestors when the announcement was made. She said the protestors erupted in celebration.

Protesters had continued to demonstrate Wednesday in Old San Juan, the historic district of Puerto Rico's capital city, in protest of Gov. Rosselló.

Content Continues Below


Thousands of demonstrators demanded Rosselló's resignation over an obscenity laced online chat he had with allies and federal corruption charges leveled against his administration.

Alvarez arrived on the island Tuesday to interview protesters, who gathered several streets away from La Fortaleza, the 479-year-old governor's mansion.

"This is not only about the chats, this is about corruption," demonstrator Yoselyn Quinones said. "This is about the years our country has been having trouble with the government, our education, our health."

LIVE in San Juan as Puerto Rican’s here and in central Florida remain on pins and needles. 🇵🇷 WFTV #RickyRenuncia #RickyRenunciaYa

Posted by Nancy Alvarez, WFTV on Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Rosselló previously said Sunday that he will not resign. He said he would not seek reelection or continue as the head of his pro-statehood political party.

A judge issued search warrants Tuesday for the cellphones of government officials involved in the crude online chat.

One of the search warrants said that government officials used the chat to transmit official and confidential information to private citizens in potential violation of ethics laws.

The chat participants discussed politics and government contracts, and it insulted women and mocked constituents, including Hurricane Maria victims.

"When one side speaks legitimately, the other has the responsibility to listen carefully," Rosselló said Tuesday. "The people are speaking, and I have to listen. These have been moments of complete reflection and of taking decisions based on the concerns of the people of Puerto Rico and of their best interests."

Rosselló said that he will only talk about government-related matters from now on.

Read: Demonstrators protest Puerto Rico governor at Lake Eola

The leaked chat has intensified long-smoldering anger over government corruption and mismanagement that many blame for a 13-year recession and a severe debt crisis that has led to pension cuts and school closings.

Many are also resentful over Puerto Rico's slow recovery from Maria, which devastated the island almost two years ago and led to thousands of deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.