Puerto Rico Erupts!

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Puerto Rico on Monday was gripped by a general strike and saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets in a monster demonstration which completely occupied San Juan’s main highway – this on an island of only 3.2 million people.

This was the culmination of eight straight days of mass protests demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello  It is the largest political movement in Puerto Rico’s history.

The immediate trigger of the movement was the leaking of 900 pages of the Governor’s texts in which he engaged in foul misogynistic and homophobic abuse of his political opponents while disparaging the victims of Hurricane Maria that had struck the island in 2017, along with Domenica and the Virgin Islands, leaving a death toll of over 3000.

The text message leak came days after another scandal: the FBI arrested two former officials as part of a corruption probe over the handling of $15.5 million in government contracts.

On Sunday, on the eve of the mass strike, Rosselló promised not to stand for re-election next year but this was clearly not enough to satisfy the protesters who are demanding his immediate resignation.

 It will be very interesting to see where things go from here but it has already been amazing to see such a magnificent mobilization of people power on issues ranging from sexism and homophobia to political and economic corruption and fundamental class inequality.