Severe natural disasters tend to have an everlasting impact, for many Puerto Ricans this is true, as Hurricane Maria changed their lives forever. It also brought attention to many issues Puerto Ricans were facing even before Hurricane Maria hit the island, in September 2017. Enlightened, by the lack of aid and supplies after Hurricane Maria and the popular leaked chats, many Puerto Ricans, were encouraged to look at the bigger picture. Climate change, the substantial amount of economic debt, their corrupt governor which at the time was Ricardo Rossello, amongst other things. For many Puerto Ricans, their trauma of great loss and abandonment in their time of need triggered their power to fight for the betterment of their country.
That being said, July of 2019, a political scandal brought distraught to the country, involving the governor Ricardo Rossello and his staff and or “inner circle.” Hundreds of pages of leaked messages were made public. It was extremely shocking, in these messages Mr. Rossello used derogatory language in reference to his own Puerto Rican people. Mr. Rossello’s sexist, misogynist, homophobic, comments questioned his leadership at large. He even had the audacity to talk about the dead, of Hurricane Maria, “joking about bodies being piled up in government facilities.” He mocked those with disabilities and the obese, while also reflecting corruption within these messages.
Unfortunately, the fact is many Puerto Ricans were already disappointed with the way their country was being managed. Provoked by ridicule and dehumanizing messages, led to the outrage that filled the streets of San Juan. A protest began, thousands of Puerto Ricans set out to make a powerful change. For several days, people from communities far and near, came together as one with one specific goal, to get governor Ricardo Rossello to resign.
#RickyRenuncia was yelled and echoed until it was finally heard and followed through. On August 2, 2019, Ricardo Rossello’s resignation became effective as he stepped down as governor. Now Wanda Vázquez Garced is governor of Puerto Rico.“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”
This step towards change is just the beginning for the Puerto Rican people. This just shows, if they stand together and fight for what they want, despite the wrath they might face from the law, great change is likely to result. For the passionate activist and even the general Puerto Ricans, this #RickyRenuncia protest was extremely empowering and made nonbelievers believe in the power of the people and their voice as it makes a difference. “The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles.”