HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Puerto Rico's Department of Justice is looking into whether the governor and his aides committed any crimes. This comes after misogynistic and homophobic group chat messages between Governor Ricardo Rosselló and his inner circle were leaked, sparking massive protests at the island's capital demanding Rosselló resign. Puerto Rico's DOJ has issued warrants for the cell phones of Rosselló and his 11 aides.
With all the turmoil happening on the island, Puerto Ricans who call Houston home are feeling the effects. FOX 26 spoke with some members of that community to get their take on all that has been happening.
"We still have my family in Puerto Rico that are trying to make their lives better, and here is a government that's not allowing it to happen, "says Hermes Troche, who left the island as a child.
Javier Ferrer is the president and producer of the Puerto Rican and Cuban Festival in Houston. His entire family still lives in Puerto Rico.
"What's happening right now is impacting us here. Our daily lives. We are constantly looking on social media to see what is going on because every day we find out something new," says Ferrer.
Almost two weeks of protests on the island of Puerto Rico, peaceful, for the most part, although there were some dark days of violence when riots broke out — a result of years of frustration.
"This kind of stuff, the corruption, has been going on forever. But as Puerto Ricans, we are sick and tired of it," says Troche.
It all came to a head when messages from a chat were leaked between Governor Ricardo Rosselló and other officials. In the messages, Rosselló used offensive language towards the people of Puerto Rico, and homophobic statements towards Puerto Rican born singer Ricky Martin. Rosselló has since apologized for the messages, but it was too little, too late. Earlier this week, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets, shutting down local roads, outraged that Rosselló will not resign office. The images coming from the island send a strong message, and are moving to those living in Houston who used to call Puerto Rico home.
Troche tells FOX 26, "Puerto Ricans, we are very prideful people, and just to see the amount of people that showed up, and everything that's going on, it just makes you feel, I get goosebumps just talking about it."
President Donald Trump spoke about the issue, backing the Puerto Rican people asking Rosselló to resign.
Ferrer tells us that Puerto Ricans living on the mainland need to help support residents living on the island, "We need to get together, we have a voice, we found our voice, and the residents of Puerto Rico are giving us that voice. They need us right now, they need Congress to act, and they need our president to act."
Ferrer is helping to organize a vigil at Hugh Manor located at 2811 Washington Ave. this Friday at 6:30 p.m. He encourages anyone who wants to show support for the people of Puerto Rico to come out.