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Protests in Puerto Rico
By Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond, and Veronica Rocha
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is responding after President Trump called her "a despicable and incompetent person who I wouldn't trust under any circumstance" in a tweet Thursday.
Yulín Cruz has been urging people to join demonstrations in Puerto Rico. Protesters are calling for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign after homophobic and misogynistic messages were leaked.
Yulín Cruz shot back at Trump, saying, "This is not about you; this is about the dignity of the Puerto Rican people." She continued: "I also understand you cannot condemn corrupt, misogynistic, homophobic, and abusive behavior. After all, if you did, you would be passing judgement on yourself."
Read the full statement:
“President Trump you never got it; and you never will. This is not about you; this is about the dignity of the Puerto Rican people.
So Mr. President, here is a simple lesson on DIGNITY, something you Sir, know nothing about: what is happening in Puerto Rico is that a people united by a profound sense of dignity are on the streets protesting corruption and a misogynist, homophobic, two-faced governor. A governor, who in a chat, admits to withholding aid for Maria victims in order to have perfect timing to create FAKE NEWS and make himself look good.
I'm proud of my people and understand they're an example to all people living under a regime of arrogance, divisiveness, insults, corruption and self aggrandizement.
More than 100k took to the streets to exercise their right to defend our right to live in a sensible, just and peaceful society. Some people acted inappropriately and a willing governor-one who favors repression over expression-took the bait. But a few will not divert, nor distort, the hopes and unequivocal message of the many: Governor Rosselló of Puerto Rico must resign or be impeached.
Mr. TRUMP, I understand you are unwilling and unable to understand DIGNITY when it hits you straight on. I also understand you cannot condemn corrupt, misogynistic, homophobic, and abusive behavior. After all, if you did, you would be passing judgement on yourself.
I am a proud Latina and a proud Puerto Rican. Know this: WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED.”
Belma del Mar is so proud she can't stop crying. She's watching her parents and friends attend the protests in San Juan.
Del Mar is almost 2,200 miles away from her home in Carolina, Puerto Rico with 20 other Puerto Ricans, participating in a research program over the summer at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They attend the University of Puerto Rico, located in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
The protests moved her so much that she and some other students decided to organize their own protest on Wednesday. She estimated about 100 attendees went to the protest to call for the ouster of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
"We wish we could be there but we're not," Del Mar told CNN by phone. "We started reaching out to people that we knew were here."
She took this video of the protest showing attendees shouting, "We love our island. We love our people. So from Madison, we are with you!"
Watch the moment:
The Puerto Rican diaspora in the continental United States is already well-organized; they came together after Hurricane Maria to coordinate their own relief efforts after they felt there wasn't enough being done.
Now they are organizing protests to send a clear message: Gov. Ricardo Rosselló needs to go.
Latinos en Marcha is just one of those organizations. The group's cofounder Kimberly Lamberty is helping organize a protest in Philadelphia on Friday in solidarity with those protesting in Puerto Rico.
Voices del Barrio and a local newspaper Periodico el Maestro are also helping organize.
"The planning started four days ago," she told CNN by phone.
The protests in Puerto Rico began days ago after some 900 pages of leaked chats from a governor's private Telegram Messenger group, obtained by Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism, were published.
Lamberty said that was the last nail in the coffin.
"To be slapped in the face by our own people," she said. "We've been degraded enough and then to have our own people degrade us in our own way."
She, like other Puerto Ricans, said the scandal surrounding the text messages sparked an anger that's been building for some time.
"It's been years of corruption," Lamberty says. "We're all tired of it. Enough is enough."
Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s non-voting delegate to Congress, tweeted Thursday calling for a meeting of the New Progressive Party (PNP).
Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is president of of the PNP.
“There must be an urgent meeting of the directory of @pnp_pr to discuss everything that is happening,” González-Colón said.
Representatives from the labor movement and unions are calling for another protest on Friday.
The representatives, speaking at a news conference in front of the governor's official residence, also called for a national "cacerolazo" — a protest with people banging pots and pans — at 8 p.m. so everyone around the island can participate.
Angel Figueroa Jaramillo, president of local labor union UTIER, said they also want the Puerto Rican government to declare a state of emergency.
“Aside from asking for the governor to resign, we demand the government to declare a state of emergency over the male chauvinist (machista) violence in Puerto Rico, we want to abolish the PROMESA law, pause the bankruptcy process taking place in a federal court during this crisis, and annul the bonus accords negotiated by the Junta until the debt is audited,” Jaramillo said.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said the protests have "not gone unnoticed."
Demonstrators have been calling for Rosselló to resign after 900 pages of misogynistic and homophobic messages between him and his advisors were leaked. Officers sprayed tear gas on protesters during an intense stand-off in front of the governor's mansion on Wednesday night.
Rosselló tweeted a statement Thursday that said "I recognize the challenge that I have before me because of the recent controversies, but I firmly believe that it is possible to restore confidence and that we will be able, after this painful process, to achieve reconciliation."
He also said "I have the commitment, stronger than ever, to carry out the public policy."
CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago tweeted a translation of the statement.
Read it in English:
Rosselló's original statement in Spanish:
President Trump tweeted saying "a lot of bad things are happening in Puerto Rico."
This came after protestors clashed with police Wednesday night. They are calling for Governor Ricardo Rosselló to resign after 900 pages of offensive messages were leaked.
Trump continued: "The Governor is under siege, the Mayor of San Juan is a despicable and incompetent person who I wouldn't trust under any circumstance."
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has been urging people to join demonstrations.
President Trump also tweeted about the money given to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria –– saying it was "squandered away or wasted" and that "much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!"
Read the tweets:
Puerto Rico Secretary of Public Safety Elmer Román said he will investigate Wednesday night’s violent protests after being shown a CNN video of an officer grabbing a protestor.
Initially, when corespondent Leyla Santiago asked Román why the officer grabbed the protestor, he said it was because the protestor was trying to jump the barricade, which would be illegal.
But when Santiago showed Román the video, where she describes an officer grabbing a protestor that was not trying to jump the barricade, Román said they “obviously needed to investigate.”
He continued: “Now that I’ve seen it, we definitely want to do that (investigate). That’s actually part of the police reform process and we make sure we investigate any potential violations of civil rights.”