Puerto Rico’s Governor Finally Listened to the Island and Resigned

The protest movement in Puerto Rico scored its first victory when Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned Wednesday night. But that’s not demonstrators’ only demand: They want “la junta” gone too.

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in the streets of San Juan this week to chants of “Ricky renuncia y llévate a la junta”: Ricky, resign and take the “junta” with you. Referred to colloquially as “la junta,” the eight-member Fiscal Oversight Management Board was appointed by President Obama in 2016 to restructure Puerto Rico’s more than $70 billion in debt and lift the island out of bankruptcy.

With the help of high-paid consultants, the board has cut costs on the island — but largely through budgets cuts. That’s led to rampant public school closures and a broken healthcare system, which will run out of money five months before the end of its fiscal year in 2020.

Now, protesters want the board’s members to resign, although none of them seem to want to do that. “We will steadfastly continue our efforts to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt and to ensure fiscal balance,” its members said in a statement.

Even if they did resign, President Donald Trump would pick their replacements. That’s likely exactly what will happen in September, when the board’s current term ends. Only Congress could dissolve the body before then.

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Puerto Rico Gov. to resign; celebrations erupt

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said late Wednesday that he will resign Aug. 2 after nearly two weeks of furious protests and political upheaval. The announcemet brought huge celebrations in San Juan. (July 25)

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Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee joins Puerto Rican protesters | AFP

Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee joins protesters near the official residence of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello in San Juan to demand his resignation over allegations of corruption. IMAGES

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Police clash with protesters during demonstration in Puerto Rico | AFP

Police clash with protesters during a demonstration in the streets of San Juan, in Puerto Rico. Thousands gathered for a fifth day, demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello, following corruption accusations and the leak of text chats in which he made sexist and homophobic remarks. “Ricky has to go now” said Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Bad Bunny, who with other local celebrity performers such as rapper Rene Perez, aka Residente, and singer Ricky Martin, took part in the demonstration.

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Puerto Ricans march demanding governor resign

Thousands of people in Puerto Rico have marched to the governor’s residence in San Juan, carrying the U.S. territory’s flag and chanting demands for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign. (July 18)

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Why Puerto Rican Tourism Hasn’t Fully Recovered After Hurricane Maria

One year since Hurricane Maria, local businesses in Puerto Rico are struggling to recover. Tucked in the old city of San Juan, Barrachina is a tourist hotspot. Most of the restaurant’s business comes from visitors hoping to sip on piña coladas and try the classic Puerto Rican dish, mofongo. After Hurricane Maria hit, Barrachina was one of almost 10,000 small businesses affected by the storm.

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Why Puerto Rican Tourism Hasn’t Fully Recovered After Hurricane Maria

How Employees Kept A Puerto Rican Cheese Factory Running After Hurricane Maria

Headquartered in San Juan, Indulac employees continued production of queso blanco and UHT milk through the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. President Francisco Oramas explains how their 100% Puerto Rican staff was integral in helping Indulac recover after the storm.

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How Employees Kept A Puerto Rican Cheese Factory Running After Hurricane Maria

UN court rules in bitter row between Costa Rica and Nicaragua

The UN’s highest court rules in the bitter border row between Costa Rica and Nicaragua ordering Nicaragua to pay less than $380,000 to Costa Rica in compensation for damaging protected wetlands on the river San Juan – well below the $6.7 million demanded by Costa Rica. SOUNDBITE / TO COMPLETE VID1137154_EN

Trump in San Juan: Maria has thrown US budget out of whack

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the humanitarian aid response in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria has “thrown our budget a little out of whack,” during a visit to the Caribbean island.

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico,” Trump said.

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Puerto Ricans prepare for Hurricane Irma

The Category Five Hurricane Irma is expected to pass next to Puerto Rico in the upcoming hours, after causing “major damage” on several Caribbean islands. Residents in San Juan say they feel “frightened of the unknown” as they attempt to protect their houses from the imminent storm.

Puerto Rico’s Protest Art Calls for the Island’s Independence

Street art in Puerto Rico has long channeled widespread frustrations about the island’s century-long status as a U.S. territory. The work of La Puerta is one such example. The anonymous collective voicing ideas of identity and politics exploded throughout San Juan over the last year, but now, their protest art might come at a cost.

In May, the country’s penal code was amended to punish acts like disrupting school activity and painting on public walls with jail time. Human rights lawyer Ariadna Godreau-Aubert worries, “These new amendments are trying to implicate street art as well as every other kind of free speech activity against austerity and the government.”

La Puerta’s street murals often advocate for the island’s independence, a political debate revived by the fiscal crisis. On June 11, a referendum took place where Puerto Ricans voted between statehood, free association/independence, and the status quo.

Leading up to the vote, VICE News followed the La Puerta collective as they took to an expressway that’s become the go-to spot for their political messages.

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