Local Puerto Rican community reacts to protests over Governor Ricardo Rossello

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Turmoil continued Monday night in Puerto Rico where tens of thousands took to the streets in protest of embattled Governor Ricardo Rossello.

It marked the tenth straight day of demonstrations since the release of explosive text messages between the governor and his top aides. They're accused of making homophobic and sexist comments against opponents and critics, and mocking victims of Hurricane Maria.

Many in Philadelphia's Puerto Rican community agree that this scandal has shaken the island governor's ability to lead, but not everyone agrees on how to move forward.

Many in Puerto Rico are still recovering from Hurricane Maria, one of the worst hurricanes ever, at a time when the island's public financial system was collapsing. Then came the arrests of two of the governor's top former officials by the FBI on corruption charges.

After that came the leaks of 889 pages of a profanity-laced, misogynistic online chat between the governor and nine other male members of his administration.

It's all proving to be too much as hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets asking for the governor to step down.

Nancy Santiago, 49, traveled all the way from South Philadelphia to take part in the protest on Monday.

"It was important for me to be here today, it was important, it was very exciting. I feel like I was part of a new birth of the island," she said. "The governor needs to understand that there is no other option for him. He's lost the trust and the credibility of his electorate."

But Camden City Council at-large member Angel Fuentes would like to see a thorough investigation, asking protesters to let democracy work the way its suppose to.

"Take a step back, breathe, and then allow the Department of Justice to do its course and bring justice. And if not, hey, there's election come 2020," said Fuentes.

But the founder of the Philadelphia chapter to make Puerto Rico the 51st state, Oscar Rosario, doesn't want to wait.

"I think he should step down now, for the betterment of the Puerto Rican people," said Rosario.

And Wilfredo Rojas, a Latino who holds a leadership position in the Gloucester County, New Jersey branch of the NAACP, agrees that Gov. Ricardo Rossello needs to go now.

"We need responsible leadership and that's one of the things that's lacking in Puerto Rico right now, people have lost confidence in his ability to lead," said Rojas.
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