Former Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez Arrested on Corruption Charges

Crime Published On August 05, 2022 06:10 AM
Janeka Simon | August 05, 2022 06:10:32 AM

Former Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez.

Former governor of Puerto Rico Wanda Vázquez was arrested on corruption charges on Thursday, and will soon become the first former leader of the island to face federal prosecution. 

The Associated Press is reporting on the breaking developments, and says a confidential source in the government has verified the turn of events. Vazquez was reportedly arrested alongside two other people whose identities are currently still unknown. 

The arrest did not come as a surprise to the former governor, her attorney, or the people of Puerto Rico for that matter, as she and her legal team had told local reporters back in May that they had been preparing for potential charges. Vazquez has publicly denied engaging in any illegal activity or misconduct. Her spokesperson Juan Rosado-Reynés declined to comment following Thuesday's arrest.

Vazquez tenure as governor began in 2019, when she took office after the resignation of Ricardo Rossello, who stepped down after thousands of Puerto Ricans protested against corruption and the misappropriation of funds under his leadership. Rosello and eleven other prominent male public figures were also discovered to be participating in a group chat in which they made fun of women and gay people, among other marginalized groups. Initially, Pedro Pierlusi, who at the time was Puerto Rico's secretary of state, was appointed governor in Rossello's stead, but Vasquez took over after Pierlusi's ascension to the governorship was ruled unconstitutional

After her swearing in, Vasquez gave an interview to the Associated Press in which she spoke of her priorities — fighting corruption, seeking to get the island's finances back on track, and obtaining adequate funding for hurricane relief.

During her two-year stint as governor, Vázquez said she was only interested in completing the years left in Rosello’s term, but subsequently changed her mind, competing for — and losing — the candidacy of the New Progressive Party. Rosello was replaced as governor by the man she had initially replaced in the position — Pedro Pierlusi.

Vázquez previous portfolio includes a 30-year tenure as district attorney and a stint as the island’s justice secretary.

In 2009, former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá became the first governor in recent history to be charged with a crime. After his trial for campaign finance violations in the local courts, however, he was found not guilty.

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