Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Could Be Left Without A Governor As The Woman Next In Line Doesn’t Want The Job

Puerto Ricans have set a shining example of what peaceful political reform and patriotism looks like in a democracy. After two weeks of ongoing protests and a trending hashtag #RickyRenuncia, Governor Ricardo Rossello announced Wednesday, July 24, that he is resigning August 2. Dozens of officials involved in the leaked text message scandal that insulted victims of Hurricane Maria, called San Juan’s mayor “una tremenda hija de puta” and specifically blasted their very own Ricky Martin with homophobic slurs, has left Puerto Rico with few existing options to take Rossello’s seat.

Former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín would have been instated as governor, but he has also resigned as complicit in the scandal. The woman next in line would be Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez, but Puerto Rico isn’t having it. The very same day as Rossello’s announcement, a new hashtag was born: #WandaRenuncia. Yesterday, she announced that she doesn’t want the job.

Even amidst the #WandaRenuncia protests, Rossello posted this photo op with Vázquez.

@ricardorossello / Instagram

He captioned the photo, “Discussing the transition with the Secretary of Justice, Wanda Vázquez.” If officials ever thought Puerto Ricans were disengaged from politics, it’s clearer than ever that they won’t get away with much anymore.

Puerto Ricans have a list of officials they want ousted, though Vázquez has tried to maintain her innocence in the alleged scandal.

@ajplus / Twitter

Vázquez is under fire from the public for not calling an investigation into the mismanagement of money and supplies for Hurricane Maria victims. On Friday, Vázquez said that much of the complaints are based in misinformation, and that she is legally bound to keep certain cases private.

Vázquez believes that her loss of public favor is due to the “agenda of some” to “destabilize the government.”

@newslink7com / Twitter

“The vicious attacks on my personal and professional integrity continue,” Vázquez said Friday. “The desire and agenda of some to try to undermine my credibility at this moment of transcendental importance to Puerto Rico and to destabilize the governmental order is evident.”

Another massive protest was planned for today, this time against Vázquez.

@ajplus / Twitter

The focus since Rossello’s resignation had already shifted to Vázquez, with Old San Juan sounding like this: “Wanda Vazquez no te vistas que no vas, llevate a la junta, Johnny Mendez y Tomas Rivera Schatz.”

Still, the day before the major protest scheduled, Vázquez announced that she won’t be filling in for Rossello. We’ll see if that’s enough for the Puerto Rican people.

Puerto Ricans feel betrayed by their government and empowered to change it in the largest limpia in Puerto Rican history.

@APESSHIT / Twitter

In fact, it was the FBI that eventually arrested six officials on charges of conspiracy and other crimes involved with the millions of dollars in Medicaid and education funds funneled away from the Puerto Rican people.

Puerto Ricans not only reject Vázquez as Governor–they want her to resign from her current position as well.

Claro, Puerto Ricans are getting creative in their efforts to get Vázquez’ resignation.

@RobbyCortes / Twitter

One Twitter user tries to explain this image: “Creative protests continue. This one is odd to explain but I’ll try in this thread.PRican TV icon and weatherperson @SusanSoltero used social media to call for a mass rolling down El Morro’s hill to call for Wanda Vázquez’s resignation before she becomes governor. #WandaRenuncia”

It’s written on San Juan’s walls, Vázquez: Puerto Rico doesn’t want you anymore.

@viaSimonRomero / Twitter

Many suspect that these protests are much bigger than a simple shift in leadership. It’s a complete government overhaul of the people who are not gente. The RickyLeaks that mocked the deaths of Maria victims has shook la gente, many of whom weren’t ever able to give their family a proper burial amidst the chaos.

Now, Puerto Ricans are warily expecting Rossello to choose his replacement.

@loufor45 / Twitter

With the Secretary of State position left vacant, Rosselló must select a new official, who would then, under Puerto Rican law, would become the governor. After Secretary of State would be the Treasury Secretary. Unfortunately, Puerto rico’s Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés is four years too young to become Governor.

Interim Education Secretary Eligio Hernández is expected to be tapped by Rosselló.

@PulsoEST / Twitter

Hernández replaced former education secretary Julia Keleher, who resigned after her arrest on federal corruption. That would mean that Hernández would be the fourth in line. Will Puerto Rico accept him? Vamos a ver.

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Puerto Rican Boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Of Killing Of Pregnant Woman

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Puerto Rican Boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Of Killing Of Pregnant Woman

Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez is charged with murdering Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, who was pregnant at the time. In a virtual court hearing earlier this week, Verdejo Sánchez pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to the murder.

Boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez is being charged with murder in connection to the death of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz.

Earlier this month, news broke that Rodríguez Ortiz’s body was found floating in a lagoon. The news shocked Puerto Rico because Rodríguez Ortiz was pregnant when she was killed. Verdejo Sánchez, who is married and has a young daughter, was quickly arrested and charged with murder in connection with her death.

According to an FBI complaint, Verdejo Sánchez is accused of punching Rodríguez Ortiz in the face before injecting her with an unknown substance. She was then tied up and heavy blocks were attached to the bindings before being thrown from a bridge. Verdejo Sánchez then allegedly shot at Rodríguez Ortiz’s body before fleeing the scene.

Verdejo Sánchez and Luis Antonio Cádiz Martínez were both indicted in the crime.

According to reports, Cadíz Martinez helped Verdejo Sánchez commit the crime and has worked as a witness for the FBI as they investigate the murder. Both men have pleaded not guilty to one count of carjacking resulting in death, one count of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of killing an unborn child. Verdejo Sánchez is also facing one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

The two men are facing federal charges that could come with federal death penalties.

The death penalty is illegal in Puerto Rico but special circumstances in the case could mean federal death penalties. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico said in a statement that the crime was done “by payment or the promise of payment.” That is enough to escalate the matter to a federal crime.

“Keishla Rodríguez-Ortiz was taken from a family that loved her, and she and her child were denied the most fundamental right of life, and the joy of knowing what that life could have been,” United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow said in a statement. “We hope that this process brings some measure of solace to Keishla’s family. This case also underscores the message of cooperation with law enforcement that I have been repeating to the community – If you have knowledge of criminal activity, even if you are a participant in that activity, do the right thing and come forward to authorities. The prosecutors and the law enforcement agencies that have worked tirelessly, and who continue to assist in the ongoing investigation of this case, are to be commended.”

Rodríguez Ortiz’s death has sparked outrage as the island confronts a spike in femicide since January.

Twenty-one women have been killed in Puerto Rico since the beginning of the year. According to Observatorio de Equidad de Género, 60 women were killed last year in Puerto Rico, which is a 62 percent increase from 2019. Puerto Ricans are demanding justice and answers as the same femicide gripping the rest of Latin America is on the rise.

This story is ongoing and mitú will update on the story as it develops.

READ: Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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