Puerto Ricans March a Guillotine to their Capital

Puerto Ricans March a Guillotine to their Capital

Alora Foote, Contributor

As Puerto Rico is being hit with multiple earthquakes, medical and emergency supplies were running low and the people demanded the government to aid them. Recently, Puerto Rico was hit with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake which destroyed hundreds of homes and killed one person on the south end of the island. The government had sent the needed supplies to the region, however, the sources claim that the governor had withheld the money from the people and the supplies were being stored in an unused warehouse. If that alone wasn’t enough to provoke the protests, the people were still waiting on aid from Hurricane Maria. “Officials are still awaiting millions of dollars in federal funds for Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that hit in September 2017″ (The Guardian). The Puerto Ricans are tired of being denied the help they need to recover from the natural disasters which have had disastrous effects on the people.

On Thursday, January 23, hundreds of the oppressed Puerto Ricans marched to Governor Wanda Vázquez’s mansion. “’We’ve had enough,’ said 82-year-old Iris Guardiola as she waved a tiny Puerto Rican flag. ‘The people are tired of the abuse … of the lack of humanity. I am here helping those who cannot be here'” (The Guardian). After the discovery of the hundreds of unused emergency supplies in a warehouse on the island’s southern end, the people decided that they had had enough. The Puerto Ricans organized themselves and protested for the governor’s resignation. Even under heavy downpour, protests still showed up at Vázquez’s doorstep demanding her to leave office as well as possible jail time for her crimes. Other government officials involved with Vázquez’s decision were also targeted on Thursday night. The protests included towing a guillotine through the streets of San Juan. A handful of protesters claimed that the guillotine was solely for symbolic purposes and not intended to behead the faulty governor. “’We’re not going to wait until November, because the politicians in this country are not going to wait until November to steal,’ Pérez told the Guardian. ‘They’re going to steal starting now'” (Vice).

Vázquez is up for reelection in November. However, people don’t want to wait that long for change. Many protest leaders from last year’s riots have said that a massive demonstration could cause unfixable damage and the smarter idea would be to wait to vote against Governor Vázquez. However, patience is not a virtue the Puerto Ricans want to exercise at the moment. Discovering the unused emergency supplies was the last straw for the people and they do not want to be under Vázquez’s influence any longer.

Wanda Vázquez’s predecessor, Ricardo Rosselló, resigned August 2 because of the protests against the corruption and scandals painted all over his term. Puerto Rico then had Rosselló’s congressional representative sworn into office. However, he only served in office for five days before being accused that the way he had gained office was invalid, having only been approved by the House of Representatives and did not have the support of the Senate behind him. This was when Governor Wanda Vázquez was sworn into office and marked the third governor in a single week.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/puerto-rico-protest-emergency-aid-earthquake-hurricane

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kz8ja/puerto-rican-protesters-want-their-governor-to-resign-again

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/16/puerto-rico-3-governors-week-wanda-vazquez-stability/2025597001/