Hundreds of thousands protest in Puerto Rico

By Paul Murphy, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 7:54 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019
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7:54 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

What you need to know about the massive protest in Puerto Rico today

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans blocked a major highway and launched an island-wide strike Monday to demand their governor's resignation.

We're wrapping up our live coverage for the night, but here's what you need to know about the protest:

  • Why they're protesting: The massive strike was spurred in part by leaked chat messages between Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and members of his inner circle. Puerto Ricans said they are angry about corruption in the government and how the governor handled the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
  • Rosselló offered concessions: In a Facebook Live post, the governor admitted Sunday that a "huge portion of the population is unhappy." So he announced he won't run for re-election next year and was resigning as the president of the New Progressive Party. During a tense interview with Fox News Monday, Rosselló said he's "not making light of the demonstrations."
  • Calls for impeachment: Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin — one of the people targeted in Rosselló's messages — joined protesters Monday and urged officials to start the process of impeachment.
  • What President Trump said: Trump called Rosselló "a terrible governor," but stopped short of calling for his resignation.
7:49 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

"We're fighting for our rights": Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee joins protest in San Juan


Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee, best known for the hit song "Despacito," joined hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating in San Juan on Monday.

"We're fighting for our rights, but in a Democratic way and in a peaceful way," he told CNN.

He also described Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's announcement not to run for reelection next year as "good news."

The Reggaeton star continued: "I think we're demanding respect above everything and we deserve that."

4:23 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

Canceled cruise ship stops will cost Puerto Rico $2.5 million

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch and Tatiana Arias

Cruise ships dock in Old San Juan, the center for Puerto Rican tourism, on November 12, 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Cruise ships dock in Old San Juan, the center for Puerto Rican tourism, on November 12, 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Christopher Gregory/Getty Images

Two cruise ships canceled stops in Puerto Rico Monday — a move that will cost the island's economy a lot of money.

In a statement from Puerto Rico’s Tourism Company, "the economic impact of cruise ship stops canceled to date could be estimated at around $2.5 million due to the expenditure of approximately 15,000 passengers."

MSC and Royal Caribbean said their cruises, the "MSC Seaside" and "Celebrity Equinox," were scheduled to arrive in San Juan.

The statement said the companies made the decision because the local businesses that provide excursion services canceled most of the scheduled excursions.

"Similarly, the lines expressed concern about the demonstrations that could be generated in Old San Juan at night," the statement continued.

Both companies will see their own economic impact from the cancelations. The statement said the "MSC Seaside" will suffer an estimated $439,000 in losses and the "Celebrity Equinox" will lose about $311,000.

5:10 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting in San Juan

From CNN’s Maria Cartaya


Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to state police.

Axel Valencia, a state police spokesperson, said there have been no reported deaths during the last eight days of protests, despite some reports on social media claiming otherwise. 

UPDATE: Earlier, police had said more than 200,000 people were involved in the protest. Police have since reached out to CNN to retract that number.

3:58 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló apologizes for comments during Fox News interview

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló apologized for comments he made in a series of messages during an interview with Fox News. 

Rosselló told Fox News that he has seen and heard the people protesting in Puerto Rico.

“I’m not making light of the demonstrations,” he said. “I have used words that I have apologized for, but I’ve also taken significant actions in the direction of helping vulnerable sectors in our population.”

“I apologize for all of the things that I have said," the governor said.

Rosselló said in his interview that his focus is to make sure the policies that he has enacted move forward.

2:29 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

At least 18 people have been treated for fainting, police say

First responders have responded to 18 cases of fainting, dizziness and hypoglycemia during demonstrations in Puerto Rico, police said.

“At the moment everything is in order as part of the demonstrations that are taking place in the metropolitan area. Personnel from @CEMPRESTATAL have treated 18 cases of people who fainted, had dizziness and hypoglycemia," the department said in a tweet.

Read it in Spanish:

Today's protests come after offensive messages between Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and his cabinet members were published. The scandal was a breaking point for Puerto Ricans who are angry about corruption and the handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Demonstrators said they will not stop protesting until Rosselló resigns.

2:17 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

Trump calls Ricardo Rosselló "a terrible governor"

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond


President Trump on Monday slammed Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who is facing mass protests and calls to resign, as a "terrible governor" and said the island's "leadership is corrupt and incompetent."

Trump also renewed his false claim that Congress allocated $92 billion to Puerto Rico last year for hurricane relief and used the subject of Rosselló's political crisis as an opportunity to also slam the mayor of San Juan, a longtime Trump critic.

"He's a terrible governor," Trump said of Rosselló, before adding: "You have an even worse mayor of San Juan."

"The governor's done a terrible job and the mayor of San Juan, she's horrible," he added.

Trump argued that he is "the best thing to ever happen to Puerto Rico" and slammed Puerto Rico's leadership more broadly as "totally grossly incompetent" and "corrupt and incompetent."

He did not explicitly weigh in on whether Rosselló should resign.

12:28 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

People are protesting on horseback in Mayagüez

The protests are still underway across Puerto Rico. And at least one person was spotted participating in the protest on horseback.

12:08 p.m. ET, July 22, 2019

The group chats attacked his sexuality. Now Ricky Martin is protesting in San Juan.

Famed singer Ricky Martin is attending the protests today. And he's carrying a pride flag in hand.

He was personally attacked in the chats that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló took part in.

Members of the group chat on WhatsApp made vulgar references to the Grammy-award winning star's sexuality.