Things That Matter

Political Chaos Returns To Puerto Rico As The Unelected Governor Faces Investigations And Calls For Her Resignation

Puerto Rico’s government is once again in the headlines, as the governor faces accusations of obstruction of justice. In just the latest in a string of crises – both natural and man made – the governor is fighting back claims that she fired an official who was investigating her failed response to a series of earthquakes that recently struck the island.

Gov. Vasquez has denied any wrongdoing but protests are already forming across the island, asking for her resignation.

Puerto Rico once again faces political turmoil as the island’s unelected governor is under investigation.

Puerto Rico’s Governor Wanda Vasquez is facing allegations that she obstructed justice and calls from the main opposition party for a legislative probe and a possible impeachment process. All of this stems from a report from the newspaper El Nuevo Día, which said that hours before being fired by Vazquez, the now former Justice Secretary Dennise Longo had recommended the appointment of an independent special prosecutor to look into the governor and her close associates.

According to the paper, Longo made a recommendation to the island’s Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor’s Panel to look into alleged irregularities in how aid earmarked to January’s earthquake relief efforts were distributed.

According to the Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, that recommendation was what caused the governor to ask for the justice minister’s resignation.

Since she appears to have fired someone who was looking into her administration, several members of the opposition party are leveling obstruction claims against Vasquez. It wasn’t immediately clear if Rep. Johnny Méndez, leader of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, who is a member of Ms. Vázquez’s party, would grant permission for such an investigation. He tweeted Tuesday that he would listen to the governor’s news conference before making any decisions.

“Our people demand total and absolute transparency in the public function. Puerto Rico doesn’t deserve less than that,” Mr. Méndez wrote.

The governor said she is ready to face justice if the case involving emergency supplies has merit. “I have nothing to fear,” Ms. Vázquez said during a lengthy news conference.

She’s accused of firing a justice official who was investigation her cabinet.

Credit: Ricardo Arduengo / Getty Images

The fired official, Dennise Longo, issued a statement saying the governor and other officials are targets of an investigation that began earlier this year involving the alleged mismanagement of supplies slated for Puerto Ricans affected by a series of strong earthquakes. Ms. Longo, who didn’t provide any details of the case, said she had referred that matter for investigation the day she was forced out.

Ms. Vázquez denied Ms. Longo was removed in retribution for the probe, saying that she didn’t know she was being investigated. She said that Ms. Longo was asked to quit because of purported interference in an unrelated federal probe into possible Medicaid fraud.

The new political crisis comes months after the island erupted into protests that forced the previous governor to resign.

Before Ms. Vasquez became governor, she served as the island’s justice secretary in the administration of Ricardo Rosselló. Rosselló faced several scandals of his own – the failed response to Hurricane Maria and a texting scandal that revealed sexist and homophobic messages from his administration.

Giant protests occurred around the island for weeks, demanding #RickyRenuncio. Following Rosselló’s resignation, few administration members wanted th role as governor – in fact, Vasquez herself said she didn’t want the job – but the island’s Supreme Court ruled that she should be sworn in as new governor.

This current political crisis is just the latest in a string of major crises that have rocked the territory.

Credit: Ricardo Arduengo / Getty Images

Puerto Rico has long faced political turmoil and natural disasters. However, much of the current crises can be traced back to the failed response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island. Then, earlier this year, the island was struck by a series of major earthquakes that left much of the island in rubble.

A week later, a 43,000 square foot warehouse in the southern city of Ponce was discovered filled with filled with supplies, including thousands of cases of water, believed to have been from when Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017. Vazquez quickly fired the island’s director of emergency management and called for an investigation. Food, water, diapers, baby formula, cots and tarps were all stored at the warehouse.

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Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapse Has Hit The Science Community Hard

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapse Has Hit The Science Community Hard

RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP via Getty Images

The scientific community is mourning the sudden loss of Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The observatory was an integral part of research space research and was an important training ground for science students.

The Arecibo Observatory collapsed in the early morning hours of Dec. 1.

The 900-ton platform came crashing down on the 1000-foot wide dish. The platform, which was suspended above the reflective dish, crashed after suffering catastrophic failures. Two wires snapped previously and engineers warned that the platform was at risk of falling as a result.

“I was very sad, very disappointed,” Génesis Ferrer, a fourth-year physics student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, told NBC News. “I worked so hard to finally get accepted to work in the Arecibo Observatory. And now that I got accepted, I can’t work in it. I felt very sad, not only individually, but I also saw it as a very sad thing for Puerto Rico and the science in Puerto Rico.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has reported no injuries.

The NSF was already planning on removing the structure after two cables broke and engineers warned that the platform was no longer stable. With no safe way to fix the structure, NSF had prepared to find a way to safely demolish the structure.

“NSF is saddened by this development,” the agency said on Twitter. “As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”

The loss of the impressive structure will be felt for years to come as the engineers assess the full damage.

There are people already calling on the U.S. government to step up and fund a rebuild of the important scientific structure. There is an updated petition that is asking for the structure to be rebuilt to its former glory.

“The telescope collapsed but the investigations facility and the visitor’s center is still there. With the appropriate funding, we have a viable path towards reconstruction,” Kevin Ortiz, also a physics student, told NBC News. “The educational impact of the observatory is incalculable, at all levels, from professionals and college students to the high school academy and the elementary schools that visit our center.”

READ: Anti-Mask Tourists Are Traveling To Puerto Rico And The Island’s Residents Have Had Enough

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Team Trump’s Latest Appearance At The Oversight Committee Hearing Was A Complete Trainwreck Oh And Giuliani Farted

Entertainment

Team Trump’s Latest Appearance At The Oversight Committee Hearing Was A Complete Trainwreck Oh And Giuliani Farted

Alex Wong / Getty

Something stinks in the White House and it’s not just Donald Trump and his inability to cope with being a loser.

Rudy Giuliani’s campaign effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election continues to waft through hearing rooms like a rotten gaseous scent… which, according to video recordings, not unlike the one Guiliani is suspected of releasing during Wednesday night’s conspiracy-filled hearing in Lansing, Michigan.

Giuliana stirred up a rash of cackles this week when the audible sounds of his stomach were heard during the hearings.

Four hours into the lengthy event, two fart sounds could be heard while Giuliani delivered his speeches. During the Michigan hearing, Michigan state Rep. Darrin Camilleri asked Guiliani a question about the recent New York Times story which reported that Giuliani talked with President Donald Trump about seeking pardons for himself last week.

“The discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani occurred as the former New York mayor has become one of the loudest voices pushing baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which Mr. Trump still proclaims publicly that he won,” NYT reported. “Many of Mr. Trump’s longtime aides have refused to do his bidding to try to overturn an election that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by nearly seven million votes. But Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly thrust himself into the spotlight to cast doubt on the results, which has ingratiated him with the president.”

Guiliani objected to Rep. Camilleri’s questions and accused him of defamation.

“I will ask that he be disciplined for that,” Giuliani requested into the microphone which picked up the first pedo sound.

Not 90 seconds later, Camilleri asked Giuliani to address Attorney General Bill Barr’s statement that federal prosecutors had yet to come across evidence of election fraud.

“The answer that I gave you was that they didn’t bother to interview a single witness,” Giuliani replied as another louder even larger sounding pedo came in through the mic.

It didn’t take long for Giuliani’s loud fart to go viral on Twitter.

HuffPost reporter Ryan Reilly shared the clip on Twitter on Wednesday night. It has since been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

Users were quick to note that Jenna Ellis, another attorney taking part in Giuliani’s campaign of lies about a Trump 2020 victory. (Which did not happen) could be seen reacting to the noise by glancing at him over her shoulder.

Like the hot air Giuliani blew into the hearing, there were quite a few bizarre moments that came about.

Giuliani brought in a parade of alleged election fraud witnesses who all managed to make outrageously conspiratorial and racist statements during the hearing. Plus, according to Buzzfeed, “Giuliani was not sworn in at the hearing, so he was under no legal obligation to tell the truth.”

One “witness,” Melissa Carone drew audible laughter during the hearing for her clown-like performance.

According to The Guardian, Carone is a contract worker for Dominion Voting Systems and “appeared before a Michigan house panel on Wednesday and insisted, without providing evidence, that tens of thousands of votes had been counted twice.” Her aggressive approach to her claims quickly drew viral attention on Twitter from users who were quick to compare her to a Saturday Night Live character.

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