Local Puerto Ricans elated over governor resignation

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 18:54:44-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Excitement over the resignation of the governor of Puerto Rico could be felt all the way to Nashville where many turned to social media for the next chapter in what has been an historic moment for the island territory.

Like millions of others, Mayra Ramos echoed "Renuncia!" to protest Governor Ricardo Rossello for nearly two weeks. She traded that in with cheers and smiles following Rossello's late Facebook Live announcement on Wednesday when he told the world know that he would be stepping down by August 2nd. An uproar of elation erupted from Puerto Ricans across the world waiting for the news.

"It was like phew, yes! I would never have thought they would be so consistent, and they really didn't give up," Ramos said.

Rossello came under immediate scrutiny following leaked text messages showing homophobic, sexist and offensive conversations with his former and current top aides. The messages shed light on political corruption and cynic mismanagement of how the government handled the Hurricane Maria aftermath.

"They showed no concern other than how the party would look. That was the most frustrating and aggravating part of it," Ramos said. "We've always known there was corruption."

Ramos moved to Nashville in January 2018 several months after the hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, killing an estimated 3,000 people. It hit her particularly hard reading callous messages about the victims made by top officials.

She remembered living without power and rationing food and water.

"The worse thing was that sense of being impotent," Ramos recalled. "You were thirsty but you wouldn't drink all the water because you didn't know if you would be able to get more."

The scandal ignited mass protests in San Juan for 12 days demanding for a resignation while pushing back against the debt crisis.

Meanwhile, Michelle Falcon was paying close attention in Tennessee while she encouraged family and friends to join the demonstrations. She shared the historic moment with her 19-year-old daughter.

"I just started to cry. I think all the emotions came together. I'm super proud of my island for coming together and being one big force to do the right thing," Falcon said.

What transpired prior to Rossello's announcement was the culmination of reactionary outrage and pent-up frustration of how Puerto Ricans felt about their government for decades. Historically, Ramos said voters elected parties based on family history, not necessarily having the right candidate with the right values.

Just like Ramos, Falcon is hopeful and excited the next chapter of Puerto Rico will keep authority figures accountable and the future of all citizens in mind.

"It's going to be a new narrative of how they're going to audit everything and start looking into books and looking at history," Falcon said.

The Secretary of Justice, Wanda Vazquez, will become acting governor.