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The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

Since Hurricane Irma and then its more vicious successor, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico hasn’t had a moment of peace. Two years since those devastating hurricanes came the recovery period— and it seemed that with all the progress that was made, there was a suspicious underlying. We knew that there were funds being withheld at the government level from the Trump Administration, but then came news of corruption from the local level. Puerto Rico was once again in turmoil, this time with its lawmakers. Then once the fraud was rooted out (thanks to the people who demanded it) came the earthquakes. Now, Puerto Rico is once again in a period of unsettledness. 

Just when we thought his issues were over, Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice is seeking to investigate former governor Ricardo Rosselló.

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Last summer, Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his role as governor of Puerto Rico after people on the island demanded it. While it was revealed that Rosselló had been involved in inappropriate chats, he was also involved in possible corruption. The Department of Justice has acquired an independent prosecutor to investigate not just Rosselló but several people he chatted with via the Telegram app. At the center of this investigation is not to disclose what was said — because we do know that information, and we’ll get to that later — but instead to discover possible illegalities that Rosselló and others committed while in office. 

On Jan. 10, the Department of Justice tweeted the details over the preliminary inquiry.

Credit: @JoshuaHoyos / Twitter

One of the concerns is whether Rosselló conducted illegal transactions that could be “conflicts of interest and violations of the law,” NBC reports. 

“They examined the contents of the group chat, and as part of the investigation, they issued 45 citations to multiple witnesses and over 60 subpoenas to secure documents and information,” DOJ Secretary Denisse Longo Quiñones said in her statement. “In the course of these appointments, participants were asked to show up and deliver their cellphones for registration.” She added, “The Department of Justice has fully complied with its responsibility to complete a preliminary investigation that allows the Office of Independent Special Prosecutors to use its own criteria to determine whether they will accept the recommendation.”

While the Department of Justice has requested an investigation, now it’s up to the Office of Independent Special Prosecutors to present the charges against Rosselló and possibly others if they find illegal actions. 

Credit: ricardorossello / Instagram

As of now, Rosselló is in the clear. It is only after the investigation is concluded will the public know for sure if Rosselló was part of any sort of corruption or if the chats that were disclosed just showed their inappropriateness. 

To recap, Rosselló’s words were more than just wrong. They were simply appalling. We expect this sort of language from President Donald Trump, but not anyone else. 

Last year, Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism revealed the chat between Rosselló and his staff (which included a total of 889 pages) in which he disrespected high profile officials and entertainers. 

In Rosselló’s chat concerning San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, Christian Sobrino Vega, then Puerto Rico’s chief fiscal officer, said: “I am salivating to shoot her.” Rosselló responded by saying, “You’d be doing me a grand favor.” 

Rosselló also said that Yulín Cruz was “off her meds” after she expressed interest in running for governor. “Either that, or she’s a tremendous HP,” which is an acronym in Spanish that means “son/daughter of a bitch.”

Sobrino Vega also went on to disrespect singer Ricky Martin. “Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin,” Sobrino Vega wrote in the group chat. “Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f—- men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”

But the issue here is not so much what Rosselló said but rather if he misused funds.

Credit: @Alan_Britto_ / Instagram

With so much talk about how Trump was withholding funds (he still is by the way), the money that was being made available could have been used in other places and not where it was needed the most. The Center for Investigative Journalism disclosed that some federal money could have been used to conduct partisan work. The investigation shows that Rosselló misused federal funds for his own purposes instead of distributing it in areas that desperately needed it. The investigation will find out if that conduct was done so legally or illegally. 

READ: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Puerto Rico Has Declared A State Of Emergency And Left Residents Without Access To Running Water

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Puerto Rico Has Declared A State Of Emergency And Left Residents Without Access To Running Water

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Another crisis is unfolding on the island of Puerto Rico, as a severe drought grips the territory and forces the government to take drastic measures. After a series of major earthquakes and hurricanes, Puerto Rico is now suffering through one of its worst droughts in history.

Water is scarce. And the government is implementing rationing measures that will leave hundreds of thousands of residents without regular access to running water.

Gov. Wanda Vazquez has announced a state of emergency as the government begins rationing water.

Puerto Rico is once again in the headlines for an ongoing crisis that is affecting hundreds of thousands of island residents. On Monday, Puerto Rico’s governor declared a state of emergency as a worsening drought creeps across the territory.

Starting July 2, nearly 140,000 customers, including some in the capital of San Juan, will be without water for 24 hours every other day as part of strict rationing measures. Puerto Rico’s utilities company urged people to not excessively stockpile water because it would worsen the situation, and officials asked that everyone use masks and maintain social distancing if they seek water from one of 23 water trucks set up across the island.

“We’re asking people to please use moderation,” said Doriel Pagán, executive director of Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewer Authority, adding that she could not say how long the rationing measures will last.

The order signed also prohibits certain activities in most municipalities including watering gardens during daylight hours, filling pools and using a hose or non-recycled water to wash cars. Those caught face fines ranging from $250 for residents to $2,500 for industries for a first violation.

Puerto Rico is experiencing a drought ranging from moderate to severe in some parts of the territory.

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According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of last week more than 26% of the island is experiencing a severe drought and another 60% is under a moderate drought. Water rationing measures affecting more than 16,000 clients were imposed this month in some communities in the island’s northeast region.

The island’s access to water is complicated by the fact that many residents rely on a system of reservoirs in Puerto Rico for water. However, due to budget constraints, several have not been dredged for years, leaving sediment to collect and allowing the excess loss of water. 

Aside from drought, the island is still recovering from a pair of deadly earthquakes and Hurricane Maria.

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Over the last few years, Puerto Rico has suffered a one-two punch that has left much of the island’s infrastructure in shambles. In fact, Vasquez cited the lasting impacts of the December and January earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic as exacerbating the water crisis.

The current water crisis has threatened the safety and wellbeing of Puerto Ricans. The earthquakes also disproportionately impacted the southern region where the drought is most severe. Vázquez also extended the coronavirus curfew for the whole island, which began in March, for three more weeks, making it the longest continuous curfew in the United States so far.