ORLANDO, Fla. — Pressure is mounting on Puerto Rico's governor as a series of scandals, plus continued frustration over Hurricane Maria's recovery, has people taking to the streets.
- Protesters demand Puerto Rico governor resign
- Hundreds of pages of private, inappropriate exchanges leaked
- Former advisors arrested by the FBI last week
Protesters are demanding that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resign. The calls for resignation came after hundreds of pages of private chats on a messaging platform were leaked over the weekend, revealing inappropriate exchanges that ran against the governor's image as a gentle family man.
The conversations included vulgar language and insults, with topics ranging from musician Ricky Martin's homosexuality, to calling a New York politician a whore.
When San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz announced that she planned to run against the governor next year, he reportedly wrote that she was "off her meds."
Another exchange used "middle finger" emojis in reference to the federal board that oversees Puerto Rico's finances.
That's just the latest controversy for Rosselló, causing frustrations among residents to boil over. They are also upset with his handling of Hurricane Maria.
Plus, several former top advisors were arrested last week by the FBI on 32 counts of fraud and other charges. They're accused of showing favoritism in awarding federal government contracts.
For the last several days, protesters have been marching in San Juan. Police in riot gear used pepper spray to try to disperse marchers in front of the governor's residence.
Rosselló said Tuesday that he had no plans to resign.
"I have not committed an illegal act and I have not committed an act of corruption," he said. "I committed some improper acts and I asked forgiveness for that."
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is diverting a cruise ship away from Puerto Rico because of unrest on the U.S. territory.
The cruise line confirmed to Spectrum News that it was changing the itinerary for the Empress of the Seas, which sails out of Miami. The ship was re-routed to Tortola, and the company will refund guests for shore excursions.
"We continue to monitor the situation closely and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure the safety and security of our guests and crew," said a Royal Caribbean statement.
Protests in Central Florida
Puerto Ricans gathering in Orlando are passionate about the island, but they're sending a clear message to Gov. Rosselló.
They chanted in Spanish, “Ricky Renunciar, Ricky Renunciar, Ricky Renunciar.” It means "Ricky Resign, Ricky Resign.”
Giovanni Bravo Ruiz is one of the organizers of Tuesday’s protest.
“We learned in Puerto Rico ... from the Governor of Puerto Rico and his allies and office, in this group chat, said a lot sexist, homophobic different comments about people in Puerto Rico,” Ruiz said.
There were also strong concerns about alleged comments made about Hurricane Maria.
“About dead bodies in group chats, and again making light jokes about these things. That to me is extremely repulsive," Ruiz said.
Some of the protestors gathering also expressed their own opinion about Puerto Rico.
“Now its time to take care of this corrupt government. Rosselló needs to go now,” Ruiz said.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.