July 21, 2019 at 7:15 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Puerto Rico governor will not seek re-election, resigns as head of party
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, center, talks about bills that would have banned so-called conversion therapy and protect religious freedom in the U.S. commonwealth during a press conference at his official residence in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 23, 2019. Rosselló on July 21, 2019, announced he will not seek re-election and will resign as head of his pro-statehood party amid growing calls for him to leave office over a series of homophobic and misogynistic messages between him and members of his administration became public. (Photo courtesy of Adlyn Torres/La Fortaleza)

Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Sunday announced he will not seek re-election and will resign as the chair of his pro-statehood party.

“I have made mistakes and I have apologized,” said Rosselló in a message he posted to his Facebook page. “I am a good man who has a lot of love for his island and for everyone.”

Rosselló’s announcement comes eight days after the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico published 889 pages of messages the governor and several members of his administration sent to each other on the messaging app Telegram.

The tranche of messages included homophobic and misogynistic comments against Ricky Martin, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other public officials. They also mocked David Begnaud, an openly gay CBS News reporter who received widespread praise for his extensive coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.

Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, and Wilfred Labiosa, executive director of Waves Ahead and SAGE Puerto Rico, are among the LGBT activists in the U.S. commonwealth who joined Martin and other Puerto Rican celebrities who have demanded Rosselló resign. Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents Puerto Rico in Congress, and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are among those who have also said Rosselló should leave office.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in anti-Rosselló marches in Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland since the messages became public. An island-wide strike is expected to take place on Monday.

Cruz, who is a vocal champion of LGBT rights, earlier this year announced she is running for governor.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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