Puerto Rico governor rejects calls to resign amid scandal

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Protesters in Puerto Rico gathered outside La Fortaleza governor's residence on Sunday, demanding Gov. Ricardo Rosselló step down for his involvement in a private chat in which he used profanities to describe an ex-New York City councilwoman and a federal control board overseeing the island's finances.

The demonstrators included teachers, union workers, students, members of a feminist collective and others who congregated in front of the mansion chanting, "Ricky resign, the people don't want you!"

Undersecretary of La Fortaleza's press office, Michelle De la Cruz, said she did not know if the governor was home. The residence's main doors were padlocked and other entrances were barricaded shut and monitored by police.

Some activists say they are ashamed of the language used by Rosselló in the group chat and the ways the reputation of the U.S. territory might be affected.

The chat, which came to light earlier this week, showed that the governor called former New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for "whore," and in English told the oversight board to "go f--- yourself" followed by a string of emojis with the middle finger raised.

Two top officials, Chief Financial Officer Christian Sobrino and Secretary of State Luis G. Rivera Marín have already resigned.

Rosselló said at a church in the capital of San Juan on Sunday that he was humbled by events and would look to God to guide him through "figurative or real" hurricanes.

He said that his "commitment is to learn from what was done" and continue "advancing efforts so that Puerto Rico can move forward."

In the afternoon, House and Senate leadership of Rosselló's New Progressive Party were expected to meet.


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