Scenes from the Protests in Puerto Rico

Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is expected to resign July 24 amid massive protests on the island and around the world. A demonstration in the capital city of San Juan Monday drew an estimated 1 million people — almost a third of the island’s total population — to protest a decadeslong economic crisis that peaked in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The unelected and Washington-appointed body now overseeing the island’s finances — the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board, called la junta by Puerto Ricans — may use a democratic explosion in Puerto Rico to further curtail its democracy.
For protesters, leaked Telegram chats, published by the Center for Investigative Journalism earlier this month, were the final straw after years of a painful recession and austerity measures imposed by la junta following the 2017 hurricane. In addition to the governor joking with his top staff about shooting San Juan mayor and gubernatorial candidate Carmen Yulín Cruz and calling former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito a puta, or whore, the chats show that confidential information on government contracts and operations was being shared with ex-officials now working for corporate interests. Protesters erupted with anger that money that should have gone to hurricane recovery was being filtered toward lawyers and consultants close with the government.
Now many fear la junta will use these rolling legitimacy crises as ammo in an ongoing push to have Washington amend the oversight legislation to grant them broader authority, like the ability to veto measures passed through the island’s legislature.