Former Puerto Rico governor Wanda Vazquez arrested

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Former Puerto Rican governor Wanda Vazquez was arrested Thursday on corruption charges on U.S. territory.

An official not authorized to speak on the federal case said two other unidentified people were arrested along with her.

Vazquez’s spokesman, Juan Rosado Reines, told the Associated Press that he had no immediate comment.

In mid-May, Vazquez’s attorney told reporters that he and his client were preparing for possible charges because the then-former governor had denied any wrongdoing. As I always say, I am not engaging in any illegal or unfair practices. ”

Vazquez was the second woman to serve as governor of Puerto Rico and the first former governor to hold federal responsibility. Former Governor Anibal Acevedo Villa was indicted for campaign finance violations during his tenure and was acquitted in 2009. He was the first governor of Puerto Rico to be indicted for a crime in recent history.

Vazquez took office in August 2019 after former Gov. Ricardo Rocero resigned following mass protests. She held office until her 2021, after which she lost the New Progressive Party primary to governor of the state and current Pedro she to Governor Pierluigi.

In a statement Thursday, Pierluigi said his administration will work with federal authorities to help fight corruption.

“No one is above the law in Puerto Rico,” he said. “In the face of this news that will undoubtedly affect and undermine public confidence, my administration will continue to maintain a united front with federal authorities, no matter where they come from or who may have done wrong. I repeat, it may be related.”

Vazquez previously served as the island’s Attorney General and District Attorney for more than 30 years.

She became governor after Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court ruled that Pierluigi’s governorship oath, who was secretary of state in 2019, was unconstitutional. Vazquez said at the time that he had no interest in running for office and that he had nearly two years left in Rocero’s term.

Rocero said tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans were taking to the streets and accused of corruption, mismanagement of public funds, and obscenities he and 11 other men, including public officials, made fun of women, gays, and hurricane victims. I resigned after being offended by the nasty conversation. Maria, et al.

Shortly after taking office, Vazquez told The Associated Press that his priorities were to fight corruption, secure federal hurricane recovery funding, and save Puerto Rico from a deep economic crisis as the government struggles to bounce back from bankruptcy.

During an interview, she told the Associated Press that she had long wanted to be a civil servant.

Danica Coto

Associated Press