SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- In the Spanish colonial fortress that serves as his official residence, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is under siege.
Motorcyclists, celebrities, horse enthusiasts and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Puerto Ricans have swarmed outside La Fortaleza in Old San Juan this week, demanding Rosselló resign over a series of leaked online chats insulting women, political opponents and even victims of Hurricane Maria.
Rosselló, the telegenic 40-year-old son of a former governor, has dropped his normally intense rhythm of public appearances and gone into relatively long periods of near-media silence, intensifying questions about his future.
For much of his 21/2 years in office, Rosselló has given three or four lengthy news conferences a week, comfortably fielding question after question in Spanish and English from the local and international press. And that's on top of public appearances, one-on-one interviews and televised meetings with visiting politicians and members of his administration.
But since July 11, when Rosselló cut short a family vacation in France and returned home to face the first signs of what has become an island-wide movement to oust him, the governor has made four appearances, all but one in highly controlled situations.
New protests began Friday afternoon, with unionized workers organizing a march to La Fortaleza from the nearby waterfront. Horseback riders joined them with a self-declared cavalry march, while hundreds of other people came from around the city and surrounding areas. A string of smaller events was on the agenda across the island over the weekend, followed by what many expected to be a massive protest on Monday.
The chorus calling for Rosselló's resignation was joined Friday by Puerto Rico's non-voting member of Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez; U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida; and New York congresswomen Nydia Velázquez and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
The crisis has even cut back Rosselló's affable online presence. The governor normally started every day by tweeting "Good morning!" to his followers around 5 a.m. The last such bright-and-early message came on July 8. The tweets from his account have dwindled to a trickle since then, and each one is met by a flood of often-abusive responses from Puerto Ricans demanding he resign.
Rosselló's secretary of public affairs, Anthony Maceira, told reporters Friday that the governor was in La Fortaleza working on signing laws and filling posts emptied by the resignations of fellow members of the leaked chat group.
The head of Rosselló's pro-statehood political party said a meeting of its directors had been convened for coming days, although the agenda was not disclosed beyond "addressing every one of the complaints of our colleagues."
Rosselló offered a press conference on July 11 to address the arrest of two of his former department heads on federal corruption charges. He also asked the people of Puerto Rico to forgive him for a profanity-laced and at times misogynistic online chat with nine other male members of his administration, short selections of which had leaked to local media. Two days later, at least 889 pages of the chat were published by Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism, and things got much, much worse for Rosselló.