WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement calling on Puerto Rico’s governor to resign immediately:
“When Gov. Rossello took the oath of office, he stated that he would lead by example and set high expectations for his government. We see now that the example he has set is one of corruption, cronyism and contempt for the people of Puerto Rico.
“In the last few days, evidence has surfaced showing the governor, his top aides, consultants and cabinet members engaging in online conversations over many months that are full of vile, hateful and criminal statements.
“It’s not simply what the governor or former chief financial officer Christian Sobrino have said about people in the diaspora who have tried to help the island, like entertainer Ricky Martin or Melissa Mark-Viverito, the former speaker of the New York City Council; that is disgusting enough. What the governor and his administration have said and done to the workers, the teachers of Puerto Rico, rises to a different level of outrage.
“In a dispute over teacher pay with Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico president Aida Díaz Rivera, Sobrino wrote, “I’m salivating to shoot her.” The governor answered that this would be “a favor” to him. In another conversation, he called the teachers union a group of “terrorists” and stated that he would not negotiate with them.
“Julia Keleher, former secretary of the island’s Department of Education, was arrested last week by the FBI for an alleged corruption scheme that involved millions of dollars of government contracts.
“The statements made by the governor, his cabinet and his closest aides are not only reprehensible, they also are criminal. And we will pursue these matters with the proper authorities.
“We call on Gov. Rossello to resign immediately. He has led an administration rife with criminal conduct, and he has personally led and condoned hateful and racist attacks against Puerto Rican citizens.
“That he and his closest aides callously corresponded about their desire to shoot a union president simply because she opposed policies she thought undermined public education on the island is chilling and has no place in a free and civilized democracy.
“Gov. Rossello, it’s time to uphold your promise to lead by example and quit.”