Is Pedro Pierluisi the best option for Puerto Rico?
The unanimous answer to be heard coming from the Island? "No!"
After weeks of intense demonstrations, the people of Puerto Rico achieved their goal: Ricardo Rosselló resigned as governor of the island.
Following a scandal over the publication of a private chat where misogyny, corruption and the government's contempt for its people were grotesquely evident, Rosselló was cornered by mass demonstrations of a nation tired and determined to change the course of their history.
Once ousted Rossello, the next question was: who would govern next?
Considering that the next election for the governorship is more than a year away, the Puerto Rican Constitution dictates a successor in line with the governing party, and someone that could take the reins of an increasingly complicated situation.
Characters such as the Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez, Thomas Rivera Schatz or Ramón Ruiz Rivera, were some of those who have been shuffled as possible candidates. But their intimate links with the circles of corruption render them almost nuclear.
Rosselló’s final decision, however, was much worse.
On Wednesday morning, Rosselló announced through social media that it would be Pedro Pierluisi Urritia who "would fill the vacancy of Secretary of State."
Luego de mucho análisis y tomando en cuenta los mejores intereses del nuestro Pueblo, he seleccionado al Lcdo Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia para llenar la vacante de Secretario de Estado. Para atender el asunto, estaré convocando una extraordinaria para mañana.
— Ricardo Rosselló (@ricardorossello) July 31, 2019
A close associate of Rossello and his family, Pierluisi is best known as a resident commissioner, the only elected representative of Puerto Rico in the U.S. Congress, and former secretary of Justice and Attorney General of the Island during the government of Pedro Rosselló - Ricardo Rossello’s father.
And if all this sounds like an impeccable curriculum, it's just coincidence.
Pierluisi's participation in the Junta Fiscal, a federal supervisory board set up by Washington to oversee the island’s finances, makes him even more despicable to Puerto Ricans.
"Pierluisi is not an option because he is a lawyer for the Board," Pedro Julio Serrano, a human rights activist and executive director of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, told AL DÍA. “He is a lobbyist for a company that produces energy with coal that generates toxic ashes (AES) and signed an agreement with fundamentalist groups to remove rights to the LGBT community through a religious freedom project to also eliminate the gender perspective in schools".
Pierluisi's work as a lawyer within the Board associates him with the oppression the nation is suffering.
However, Rosselló's options seem to be few, if the objective was to maintain the status quo of his party - NPP - or New Progressive Party.
According to the law, the next in line should be the Secretary of State, but Luis G. Rivera Marín resigned after his involvement in the scandal of the governor's private chat was published.
Next would be the Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez, who declared she was “not interested in the position,” especially after the vocal opposition she has faced on the streets in recent weeks.
In the end, Pierluisi was the next best option. However, Puerto Ricans are determined that no one will again choose for them ever again.
For Serrano, the government's solution must move towards a gesture of real change.
"(Pierluisi) is not an option, but we must clarify that Thomas Rivera Schatz is not an option either because he is worse," he explained, referring to the president of the Senate. “There is a strong movement by the NPP leadership to put Schatz in power. He is openly and blatantly homophobic and misogynist, he has insulted the press, opponents, colleges, and he persecutes them. He was the Director of the Office of Government Affairs, was accused a few weeks ago of corruption by a scandal of ghost employees in the capitol, and is worse than Ricky (Rosselló) and Pierluisi.”
"They are not options," he concluded.