After days of massive protests, Puerto Ricans are back on the streets—but this time, to celebrate. Earlier this week, Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced he will be stepping down on August 2nd, under pressure from a corruption investigation into his administration, leaked private messages, and suggestions about impeachment proceedings.
"After listening to demands, speaking to my family, thinking about my children, and praying, I have made the following decision: With sadness, I am announcing that I will be resigning from the position of governor," Rosselló said in a video. "I hope this decision serves as a call to citizen reconciliation, which is what we need to continue moving forward for the well-being of Puerto Rico."
The official announcement made on Wednesday night was immediately followed by firework celebrations outside the governor's official residence, La Fortaleza. On Thursday morning, hundreds of Puerto Ricans were back on the streets. "More than partisan politics, this is a social movement," Ana Olga González, a 62-year-old professor of environmental science, told the Associated Press. "We have to keep pushing. Take over the streets if necessary. This is supposed to be the beginning."
The biggest political demonstration in the history of the United States territory was a long time in the making, as Puerto Ricans have suffered for years with financial debt and mismanagement following Hurricane Maria. For most, the events that sparked the protests—leaked private chats with homophobic and mocking remarks, and the arrest of top officials on corruption charges—were just a catalyst.
The celebrations come at a time of uncertainty around the island's future. Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez, a former district attorney and member of Rosselló's party, is expected to replace him after the natural successor, the secretary of state, also resigned over the private messages scandal. But Vázquez is already facing opposition and calls for resignation, with the hashtag #WandaRenuncia starting to trend amid criticism that she failed to investigate corruption within the party.