Why Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned: Economic issues plaguing the island

By PoliticsFOXBusiness

Puerto Ricans demand governor’s resignation over corruption

Puerto Ricans took to the streets demanding Gov. Ricardo Rosselló submit his resignation over alleged corruption and mismanagement of millions of dollars. Fox News’ Bryan Llenas reports from the Caribbean island’s capital of San Juan.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation on Wednesday more than a week after offensive online chats between him and his top advisers were published.

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The leaked chats led to furious protests and political upheaval by Puerto Ricans who were already frustrated by corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis and the sluggish recovery from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago.

Now that Rosselló is officially resigning on Aug. 2, here’s a look at some of the economic troubles plaguing the island.

Puerto Rico has been in a recession for 13 years

Rosselló is leaving his position as Puerto Rico’s governor at a time when the island is trying to restructure part of $70 billion in debt and cope with a 13-year recession that has led to an exodus of nearly half a million people to the U.S. mainland in the past decade.


In an attempt to cope with the recession, pensions have been cut and schools have been closed -- but the measures have led to more resentment from Puerto Ricans.

The economic crisis is in part a result of previous administrations — including that of Rosselló's father, Pedro — that overspent, overestimated revenue and borrowed millions as the island sank deeper into debt.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced his resignation on Wednesday after more than a week of protests and political unrest. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

In 2017, Puerto Rico filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy. Congress approved a financial package, and a federal board is overseeing the island's finances.

Hurricane Maria battered the island in 2017

Rosselló spent much of his time as governor fighting austerity measures and seeking federal funds after Maria devastated the island in September 2017, causing thousands of deaths and more than $100 billion in damage.

At the time, Trump was criticized by Democrats in Washington and officials in Puerto Rico after he said on Twitter that the federal government couldn’t keep sending help "forever" and suggested that the U.S. territory was to blame for its financial struggles.

Nearly two years later, some 30,000 homes still have tarp roofs, power outages remain common, and Puerto Rico has received less than a third of the roughly $40 billion pledged by the U.S. government. Rosselló complained earlier this year of unfair treatment and a hostile attitude from some U.S. officials.


In fact, on Monday President Trump blasted Rosselló as “a terrible governor.”

“The governor is not good,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “The U.S. gave Puerto Rico $92 billion and it’s in the hands of terrible and corrupt people…You have grossly incompetent leadership.”

Puerto Rico has also struggled with corrupt officials

Puerto Ricans have also had their confidence rocked by a recent string of corruption arrests involving such figures as the island's former education secretary and the one-time chief of health services.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Brie Stimson, Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.