Puerto Ricans hope to oust another governor. On Monday, frustrated locals gathered in front of La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan, calling on Gov. Wanda Vázquez to step down after a viral video revealed massive amounts of disaster supplies collecting dust in a warehouse in Ponce, a southern coast municipality reeling from hundreds of earthquakes in less than a month.
Dozens of Puerto Ricans from different parts of the archipelago banged on pots and waved their one-starred red, white and blue flags while demanding the interim governor to release the aid and resign, a scene reminiscent of the beginnings of Puerto Rico’s historic summer 2019 protests that removed then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló from the top spot.
“We have to get rid of all the corrupt officials,” Mari Rivera, a 33-year-old government employee, told NBC News. She added that Vázquez “needs to stop blaming others and show her face.”
On Saturday, Lorenzo Delgado Torres, who goes by “El León Fiscalizador,” or the lion of accountability, shared a video on Facebook of a 43,000-square-foot government warehouse packed with disaster aid. The video, which has more than 800,000 views and 33,000 shares, sparked outrage, as many in the southern coast are still sleeping outside of their homes since a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit on January 7, killing one person and causing more than $110 million in damages.
In response to the footage and calls for her resignation, Vázquez held a news conference on Sunday where she appointed Nino Correa the new emergency chief and fired Glorimar Andújar, the head of Puerto Rico’s department of children and families. Andújar was allegedly discharged because she could not answer questions about the unused supplies. Vázquez also fired Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and emergency management director Carlos Acevedo.
An investigation into the aid is underway, and the governor has said that the people who broke into the warehouse to distribute the supplies to those who needed it would not be prosecuted.
Vázquez, who took office on August 7, 2019 after Rosselló resigned and former Secretary of Justice and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi was judicially annulled, announced last month that she is running for a full term this year.