Ricardo Rosselló has taken the step that our democratic society has rightly been demanding of him: to step down from the position he was elected to for the benefit of the people.
The tense days surrounding his resignation, even in the final hour with an inexplicable wait that kept Puerto Rico in suspense for about six long hours, prove how difficult the decision was.
In the end, he complied with the non-negotiable and fair demand of the people to open the door to a governance that assures dignity and transparency in the commitment to the rebirth of Puerto Rico.
In this milestone in our history, the people, united, have eloquently demanded their leaders to find new styles to work for the collective good. What we are experiencing is the victory of the people's claim to dignity. It is a broad clamour, with the youth as the leading voice and determined to build a Puerto Rico of equality that has long been denied to them.
Puerto Ricans have peacefully demonstrated their willingness to transform the suffering of decades of corruption and neglect that led to fiscal and economic bankruptcy, loss of credibility and trust in public institutions, and serious social problems.
The governor´s resignation saves the personal and collective distress that an impeachment process brings. It allows Puerto Rico to focus on its future. The agenda is Puerto Rico and its reconstruction.
This moment that marks a before and after in Puerto Rican governance and politics, demands clarity of purpose to address the magnitude of the fiscal, economic, and social challenges that remain after the change of leadership.
As established in the Constitution, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez will be Rosselló´s successor. She inherits the responsibility of ensuring that services, post-hurricane recovery and fiscal revitalization –vital for the economy- continue.
The people will demand the new leadership not to be misled by hasty readings that smell of decisions more interested in next year's elections than in the urgent needs of the people. Puerto Rico needs an effective administration, with cross-cutting convening power, experience and ties in Washington.
There is no room for a campaigning governor.
Nor is there room for politicians being investigated, who cling to old styles. That was the people´s strong message to the political class.
The main characteristic of the new leadership has to be generosity to give up to distractions that undermine the ability to lead an island in bankruptcy and facing the brake of federal aid. It must be able to respond to a worried and vigilant public opinion.
In the immediate term, the new Government is tasked with replaces those who left the Cabinet with people of integrity and proven skills. It is a priority to appoint the Secretary of State and the Chief of Staff, as well as vacant positions in agencies responsible for fiscal revitalization, reconstruction, and economic development.
The legislature also has the responsibility to ensure that the island has officials of excellence who are responsive to the people without particular considerations, let alone electoral ones.
Puerto Rico´s challenges are enormous. And they require prompt and coordinated attention. On the verge of closing the first month of the fiscal year, the government must align its plans with the fiscal goals it has set. Collaborative work with the Oversight Board is essential to achieve fiscal balance and restructuring obligations on the road to development.
Reliable data and strict oversight mechanisms will help to recover the island´s investment climate. Transparency processes and close coordination with Washington Resident Commissioner should help restore Puerto Rico's bridges of trust and credibility with the federal government.
The people left their lesson. They want dedication, transparency, and trust. They want to build a Puerto Rico immune to opportunism, corruption, and demagogy. And they will be watching and overseeing that.