Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez was sworn in Wednesday as the governor of Puerto Rico, becoming the third person in only a week to act as governor.
What We Know:
- Former governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his post on Wednesday after Puerto Rico saw its largest protest in history; Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans publicly called Rosselló to resign in the “March of the People,” just the latest and largest in a long series of protests against the troubled politician.
- Earlier this month, private chats between Rosselló and colleagues were leaked, which included offensive language toward politicians, homophobic and sexist remarks, jokes about corpses following Hurricane Maria and efforts to steer the media and affect political campaigns. Puerto Ricans have been protesting since the release in early July, but this recent protest followed Rosselló’s announcement that he would not resign.
- Rosselló announced his resignation in a video posted to Facebook Wednesday, effective August 2. In the video, he celebrated his accomplishments in office fighting corruption and championing certain communities. With this, Rosselló became the first Puerto Rican governor to ever resign; He was forced into his resignation after three attorneys commissioned by the Puerto Rican House of Representatives found five offenses worthy of impeachment in Rosselló’s leaked conversations.
- Rosselló named politician Pedro Pierluisi as his successor following his resignation, a decision that was quickly and unanimously overturned, leaving Puerto Rico without a governor for part of Wednesday. Rosselló handed over his post before the Senate had voted on Pierluisi’s confirmation, causing Senate Majority Leader Thomas Rivera Schatz to file a lawsuit claiming Pierluisi’s appointment was unconstitutional.
- Per Puerto Rico’s constitution, Justice Secretary Vázquez will now take office, though she does not intend on staying. Vázquez has already told El Nuevo Día Newspaper she will resign after she nominates non-voting delegate of the US House of Representatives Jennifer González-Colón for governor. Vázguez has already received a lot of public pushback, as #WandaRenuncia, or #WandaResign, was trending on Twitter before she was even sworn in.
- Wanda spoke for the first time as governor Wednesday night outlining her plans to open a “conciliatory and inclusive dialogue” with the Puerto Rican people even though she was not elected by popular vote, rather by Constitutional default. González-Colón is already being considered for governor by Rivera Schatz, and he believes González-Colón is the more popular and wise decision for Puerto Rico.
This political chaos at its core is a testament to the power of the Puerto Rican people to affect political change through protest.