Chicago's Puerto Rican community supports protesters calling on governor to resign

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Puerto Rican community expressed their support Monday for the tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets of San Juan to demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello.

Gov. Rossello reportedly made homophobic and sexist comments, as well as disparaging remarks about the victims of Hurricane Maria. The comments were in a leak of 889 pages of online chats between Rossello and some of his closest advisors.

The leak has intensified long-smoldering anger in the U.S. territory over persistent corruption and mismanagement by the island's two main political parties, a severe debt crisis, a sickly economy and a slow recovery from Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017.

Members of the Puerto Rican Agenda in Chicago did relief work and continue to assist Puerto Ricans after the hurricane. They stand with the protesters on the island.

"We have a representative that utilizes racist, sexist, misogynistic language to describe the circumstances in Puerto Rico, to talk about women, to talk about the LGBT community," said Jessie Fuentes, Puerto Rican Agenda co-chair. "It's extremely embarrassing."

"We want to help, and to know the help is not being received in a way that it should be is extremely disappointing, disheartening," said Maria Diaz-Arce, Policy & Public Affairs for Puerto Rican Agenda.

Cristian Roldan painted Rossello in a mural loaded with symbolism and messages for the governor to resign. The mural stretches along Division Avenue just east of Humboldt Park. The artist want it to spark not only comment but conversation.

"To create dialogue for people who are not informed, what is going on, what is happening in Puerto Rico, not just Puerto Ricans but people in Chicago," he said.

Carlos Jimenez Flores lived in Puerto Rico during the hurricane and relocated to Chicago. He now is a member of the Puerto Rican Agenda.

"Immediately after the hurricane they had plenty of food in San Juan and air conditioning, and I had relatives that didn't even have water," he said.
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