‘We Just Changed History’: Cheers and Tears in San Juan

‘We Just Changed History’: Cheers and Tears in San Juan

SAN JUAN, P.R. — All day, the drums and the chants had blared through the streets outside La Fortaleza, the governor’s residence in San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital.

But just before midnight on Wednesday, a silence fell over the crowd.

For nearly seven hours, Puerto Ricans had gathered to protest their embattled governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló, in hopes that days of demonstrations and political unrest would culminate with his resignation.

But as the night dragged on, many had begun to worry their activism would not be rewarded. Some believed he might not resign, perhaps plunging the country into further political divisions. And how would the crowds react if he did not step aside? A hot night. Mounds of empty beer cans. Weeks, months, years of pent-up energy.

Some cried, the emotion of recent days overcoming them as they realized something historic had happened. Their dissent mattered.

“We just changed history in Puerto Rico,” said Andrea Fanduiz, 25, a pharmacy technician who was among those celebrating. “Ricky the pig is gone,” she added, referring to the governor, “and whoever comes next had better listen to the streets.”

Throughout the night, the celebrations took on the feel of a music festival in parts of the old city, as some motorists blasted music from their car stereos. Some street corners resembled spontaneous dance parties as protesters celebrated the shift in Puerto Rico’s politics.

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