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Puerto Rico's governor resigns in face of protests

Published:Thursday | July 25, 2019 | 9:17 AM
Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello holds a press conference, almost two days after federal authorities arrested the island's former secretary of education and five other people on charges of steering federal money to unqualified, politically connected contractors, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation overnight, ceding power after nearly two weeks of furious protests and political upheaval touched off by a leak of crude and insulting chat messages between him and his top advisers.

A crowd of thousands outside the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan erupted in cheers and song after his announcement on Facebook just before midnight on Wednesday.

“Despite expecting to serve the term that the people democratically elected me to, today I feel that continuing in this position represents a threat to the success we have achieved,” a shaken-looking Rosselló said in an address in which he listed his accomplishments before making clear he will step down August 2.

The 40-year-old Democrat and son of a governor, Rosselló became the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of more than 3 million American citizens.

He is more than halfway through his four-year term.

He said Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez will take over, becoming Puerto Rico’s second female governor.

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