Leer en Español
The former governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez (2019-2021), was arrested early Thursday morning allegedly on corruption charges months after it came to light that she was under investigation.
The arrest of the former Secretary of Justice took place at her residence in San Juan, according to Puerto Rican media.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico plans to hold today a press conference at 11:00 a.m. local time (15:00 GMT) to provide more details on this case that once again involves politicians of the governing New Progressive Party (Partido Nuevo Progresista PNP).
Vazquez’s arrest is related to alleged bribery of her political campaign from a Venezuelan banker, which is prohibited by law.
Senator and former Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz told RadioIsla 1320 that “people have higher expectations when someone has held positions like the ones she has held.”
“It is a real shame and pity that this is happening. All these events severely hurt the voters’ confidence,” he said.
In April 2021, the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor (SIP) referred Vazquez for investigation for possible violation of the Ethics Law in delivering supplies south of the island after the January 2020 earthquakes.
Likewise, the Justice Department recommended investigating the former governor to determine if she violated the Anti-Corruption Code when she dismissed former Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar during the earthquake emergency.
Investigations concluded that there was no criminal intent to charge crimes.
“I assure you that it will be proven that I never acted improperly or lacked ethics in my duties as governor because I always carry and will carry with pride the privilege of having served you,” Vázquez said.
Puerto Rico’s 13th governor was appointed Justice secretary in 2017 by then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (2017-2019).
Upon Roselló’s resignation after strong popular protests, she was sworn in as governor in 2019, becoming the second woman to hold the position.
However, she lost to the current governor, Pedro Pierluisi, in the 2020 New Progressive Party (PNP) primaries, making her ineligible to run in that year’s November general election.