Historic protests in Puerto Rico forced Governor Ricardo Rosselló to resign Thursday after conversations leaked of he and his advisers making homophobic and misogynistic remarks. Puerto Rican natives here in Syracuse say they, and members of their family who still live on the island, haven’t seen protests of this magnitude. Syracuse University Director of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community Tere Paniagua says the protesters’ message was loud and clear.
“A lot of people don’t agree with the way things have been done, but there is a very strong conviction in the minds of so many people on the island,” said Paniagua. “There’s a whole new generation of young voters, young voices on the island that are taking ownership of this historic moment.”
With Rosselló’s resignation to take effect August 2nd, there is still uncertainty about who will replace the governor. SU Spanish Professor Ana Mendez-Oliver says a lot of the people who were next in line were also embedded in the scandal.
“Nobody wants to see like someone that will continue the same pattern, or worse,” said Mendez-Oliver. “So far, I don’t know. It’s going to be a day to day basis to see who will be the first person to take power.”
Mendez-Oliver says many in the region are being cautious about the next steps to make sure there is a peaceful transition. Puerto Rico will hold its next election for Governor in 2020.