Puerto Rico

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Walter Mercado is known for his fancy, mystical and over-the-top capes and his daily horoscope readings, which he gave for many years on national television. The 87-year-old Puerto Rican astrologer and psychic, who’s often referred to simply as "Walter," has shaped the lives of many Latino households for decades. “I always give the touch of love and they call me the Walter of Miracles,” he said on Sundial. 

With just two days before he leaves office, disgraced Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has named a new secretary of state who would then become Puerto Rico's top leader on Friday — if the island's lawmakers approve.

"After much analysis, and taking into account the best interests of our people, I have selected Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia to fill the vacancy of Secretary of State," Rosselló tweeted Wednesday morning, confirming days of rumors that he had tapped his former rival to take over.

Days before Puerto Rico's embattled governor is scheduled to resign, his successor remains unclear, leaving the island's future in question.

PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

What was planned to be yet another massive strike calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló became a historic day of celebrating a seemingly impossible victory Thursday, following the governor’s announcement the night before that he will be stepping down next week.

But the festivities that followed the governor’s resignation, the first one in the island’s history, were quickly eclipsed Thursday morning with the publication of a series of leaked text messages allegedly exchanged by the woman who is expected to become Rosselló’s successor.

Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo / AP

COMMENTARY

Good riddance, Ricky.

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló has finally agreed to resign, effective August 2, after protesters all but shut down the Caribbean island this week demanding he get lost.

But I’ll at least give Rosselló this: Ironically, his crass, clueless performance as governor has helped strengthen the case for what he’s always said is a key solution to Puerto Rico’s problems: statehood.

Updated at 2:05 a.m. ET

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation amid a scandal over sexist, homophobic and otherwise offensive text messages he and his inner circle exchanged. The leaked texts set off mass demonstrations and widespread calls for his departure.

"I was willing to face any challenge, fully understanding that I would prevail against any accusation or process," Rosselló, a Democrat who was elected in 2016, said late Wednesday.

PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló will resign by Wednesday following nearly two weeks of relentless protests calling for him to step down, according to reports by two major local media outlets.

Thousands of people flooded the streets of San Juan on Monday, calling for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign from office. The mass demonstrations are expected to be one of the largest protests ever seen in a U.S. territory.

A scandal that recently exposed chat messages Rosselló sent among his inner circle showed the governor and his allies insulting women, gay people and mocking everyday Puerto Ricans, even victims of Hurricane Maria.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Sunday that he will not seek reelection in 2020.

The announcement follows days of protests across the island sparked by leaked messages between Rosselló and his staff. The messages were widely condemned as homophobic and misogynistic.

Some of Puerto Rico's biggest stars rallied a crowd of many thousands in San Juan on Wednesday, calling on the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign. It was the fifth day in a row of protests in the U.S. territory, following a leak of hundreds of pages of misogynistic and homophobic texts between the governor and his main advisers.

During the day, trap artist Bad Bunny and singer Ricky Martin were among the huge crowd that marched to the governor's mansion.

Sherrilyn Cabrera / WLRN

In a passionate sea of red and blue flags and shirts, hundreds of Puerto Ricans gathered Tuesday evening in front of the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami to demand the resignation or impeachment of Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló and the appointment of a new gubernatorial cabinet in the island.

The Puerto Rican diaspora rallied fervently against Roselló and other politicians in the island, chanting “Ricky, renuncia! [Ricky, resign!]”  at the rhythm of lively Plena music being played.

 

Updated at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday

The governor of Puerto Rico is resisting calls to resign despite growing protests against his government after leaked text chats revealed conversations rife with homophobic and misogynistic slurs.

In Puerto Rico, nearly two years after hurricane Maria, the need for safe, affordable housing is still a massive challenge. "We have more than a half million people affected. And we have to build, minimum, 75,000 homes, " says Astrid Diaz, a well-known architect in Puerto Rico. She was part of a FEMA team that assessed the island's infrastructure after the storm.

Diaz often appears on television wearing her trademark yellow hardhat, promoting her "Casa Segura-Safe Homes" campaign.

U.S. authorities have unsealed a corruption indictment against two former top officials in Puerto Rico for directing some $15.5 million in contracts to favored businesses, allegedly edging out other firms for the lucrative government work despite allegations of being unqualified.

The two former Puerto Rico leaders — Julia Keleher, who was the secretary of the island's department of education before stepping down in April, and Ángela Ávila-Marrero, who led Puerto Rico's Health Insurance Administration until last month — were arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday.

Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria, the town of Utuado is finally getting a new bridge over the Viví River to replace the old concrete and steel one that was heavily damaged during the storm and has been closed ever since.

"This is the main road in and out of town," Héctor Cruz says, as a crew uses a crane and other heavy equipment to construct the new bridge. Cruz is the director of emergency management in Utuado, a community in the highlands of central Puerto Rico.

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