Puerto Ricans Celebrate the Governor's Resignation Amid Ongoing Uncertainty (in Photos)

Under pressure from protests, Ricardo Rosselló announced he will be stepping down on August 2nd.
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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.

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Demonstrators celebrate after the resignation message of the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, in front his mansion known as La Fortaleza in San Juan, on July 24th, 2019. Puerto Rico's embattled governor announced his resignation following two weeks of massive protests triggered by the release of a chat exchange in which he and others mocked gays, women, and hurricane victims.

Demonstrators celebrate after the resignation message of the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, in front his mansion known as La Fortaleza in San Juan, on July 24th, 2019. Puerto Rico's embattled governor announced his resignation following two weeks of massive protests triggered by the release of a chat exchange in which he and others mocked gays, women, and hurricane victims.

Rapper Residente celebrates with other protesters as Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, announces he is stepping down from power on July 24th, 2019, in Old San Juan.

Rapper Residente celebrates with other protesters as Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, announces he is stepping down from power on July 24th, 2019, in Old San Juan.

People march in San Juan on July 25th, 2019, one day after the resignation of Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

People march in San Juan on July 25th, 2019, one day after the resignation of Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

Isamar Sepulveda and Adriana Hernandez embrace as they join with other people to celebrate the ousting of Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, on July 25th, 2019, in Old San Juan. Rosselló stepped down after a group chat was exposed that included misogynistic and homophobic comments.

Isamar Sepulveda and Adriana Hernandez embrace as they join with other people to celebrate the ousting of Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, on July 25th, 2019, in Old San Juan. Rosselló stepped down after a group chat was exposed that included misogynistic and homophobic comments.

People march through the financial district as they celebrate the ousting of Ricardo Rosselló in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

People march through the financial district as they celebrate the ousting of Ricardo Rosselló in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

People march in San Juan on July 25th, 2019, one day after the resignation of Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

People march in San Juan on July 25th, 2019, one day after the resignation of Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

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