Puerto Ricans call for embattled leaders to step down

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The chants are growing louder from Puerto Ricans all over the world, demanding their governor step down from office.

Protests started earlier this week and Friday, one was held in Tampa.

The tension between Puerto Ricans and island leaders dates back decades. The island has faced a recession, a debt crisis, and Hurricane Maria’s devastating effects.

But leaked chat messages between the governor and other officials seem to be the last straw.

“Not just in Puerto Rico, but Puertorriquenos, no matter where you are, no matter where you’re born you are Puertorriqueno,” said Eliseo Santana with Puerto Rico Connect.

From afar, Tampa-area Puertorriquenos are sending a message to their political leaders.

Leaked chat messages between Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello and members of his administration were not just distasteful. The language used was crass, sexist, and homophobic.

They also point to possible financial corruption among some of the island’s leaders.

All of it is prompting massive protests on the island and on the mainland.

“Without any shame, they have disclosed who they really are,” said protester Vivian Calabria.

Protesters say they are tired of the corruption and the island’s crippling financial crisis that only seems to get worse.

“Then you have Maria come in and smack the whole economy and infrastructure hundreds of thousands arrive here and now we have coming out of the governor and his inner circle that disrespect,” Eliseo said.

So, from Tampa Bay to the streets of old San Juan, Puerto Ricans are uniting in hopes their governor gets the picture.

“We are here in the mainland but we need to support our parents our kids there’s a lot of family still on the island,” Calabria said.

Two of Puerto Rico’s officials have stepped down amid the massive protests but Puerto Rico’s governor refuses to resign.

Sen. Rick Scott tweeted Friday that he believes Rossello must go.