Puerto Rico has plunged into political chaos, with hundreds of thousands of citizens calling for the Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation, accusing him of pushing the island’s economy deeper into the crisis.
On Monday, nearly a million Puerto Ricans, almost one third of the country’s population, took to the streets for Rosselló’s ousting.
Governor Rosselló came under fire for the first time earlier this month when FBI agents arrested two of his officials on charges of handing contracts worth millions of dollars to politically connected firms.
Days later, a group of journalists published leaked chats between the Governor and his close aides, shining light on the leader’s viewpoints on other politicians and members of the media. The chat included vulgar language and a discussion of the operation of Internet troll networks on social media.
It was only the final straw for Puerto Ricans reeling from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria and years of economic hardship. The governor is also accused of wasting storm aid and steering education funds toward the contractors in his close circle.
Puerto Rico is suffocating under a mountain of debt, with many analysts saying that the island owes far more than what it can pay back.
The debt-laden economy has forced the government to enforce austerity measures. In the past few years, government has raised tuition fees, closed a handful of schools, and laid off hundreds of public servants, in addition to cutting subsidies on several public services.