Wanda Vázquez Garced

Wanda Vázquez Garced (born July 9, 1960)[5][6] is a Puerto Rican politician and attorney who has been the Governor of Puerto Rico since August 7, 2019.[7][8] Prior to her tenure as governor, she served as the 19th Secretary of Justice from 2017 to 2019. A member of the New Progressive Party and Republican Party of Puerto Rico, Vázquez is the second female governor in Puerto Rico history after Sila María Calderón. She assumed the office following the resignation of Ricardo Roselló and the judicial annulation of Pedro Pierluisi's short-lived government in the aftermath of the Telegramgate Scandal. On August 16 she failed to secure the New Progressive Party nomination for Governor of Puerto Rico in the 2020 elections, losing to Pedro Pierluisi.

Wanda Vázquez
Wanda Vázquez.jpg
Governor of Puerto Rico
Assumed office
August 7, 2019
Preceded byPedro Pierluisi (de facto)
Succeeded byPedro Pierluisi (elect)
19th Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2017 – August 7, 2019
GovernorRicardo Rosselló
Pedro Pierluisi (de facto)
Preceded byCésar Miranda
Succeeded byDennise Longo Quiñones[1]
Personal details
Born
Wanda Vázquez Garced

(1960-07-09) July 9, 1960 (age 60)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Political partyNew Progressive
Other political
affiliations
Democratic
(before 2019)[2]
Republican
(2019–present)[3][4]
Spouse(s)Jorge Díaz Reverón
Children2
ResidenceLa Fortaleza
EducationUniversity of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (BA)
Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (JD)
Profession
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
  • Attorney
  • Civil servant

Vázquez Garced's accession to the governorship was at the epicenter of a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico in the case of Senado de Puerto Rico v. Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi,[9] by which Puerto Rico's highest court derogated a clause added by Puerto Rico Law # 7 of 2005 (Law No. 7-2005) to the Constitution of Puerto Rico, annulled Pedro Pierluisi's government, and reinforced the 1952 Constitution's provisions for succession of government.

Early life and educationEdit

Vázquez was born in Santurce, San Juan and raised in Guaynabo.[5] Her parents worked in a factory, her father as a security guard. Her mother died at the age of 53. Her father has been remarried for twenty years. She has a younger brother and an older sister. She began her primary studies at the Ramón Marín and Margarita Janer schools in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.[10] Vázquez became interested in law at an early age. She said in an interview that she used to watch TV shows like Hawaii Five-O with her father, which led her to realize she wanted to follow a career along that line. Vázquez studied at the University of Puerto Rico, where she completed her bachelor's degree. After that, she completed her Juris doctor (J.D.) at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico School of Law.[11]

CareerEdit

During the 1980s, Vázquez worked for the Puerto Rico Department of Housing. She then worked as a district attorney for the Puerto Rico Department of Justice for 20 years. Vázquez specialized in cases of domestic and gender violence. She also worked in the Criminal Division for the Bayamón Prosecutor's office.[citation needed]

In 2010, Vázquez was appointed to replace Ivonne Feliciano as the head of the Office for Women's Rights of the island.[12] On November 30, 2016, Governor-elect Ricardo Rosselló nominated her for the position of Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico. She was confirmed and sworn in January 18, 2017.[13]

Governor of Puerto RicoEdit

 
Wanda Vázquez Garced meeting with Representative Don Young (R-AK) in November 2019.
 
Wanda Vázquez during her meeting with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Vázquez was initially expected to become governor of Puerto Rico after the resignation of Ricardo Rosselló on August 2, 2019.[14][15] She was met with opposition, with critics calling for her resignation due to allegations of corruption and inability to deal with domestic violence on the island. Protests against her proposed succession as governor took place, the most notable of these being the Somos Más march, Spanish for "We Are More", a title alluding to a popular chant during the protests calling for Rosselló's resignation.[16] The hashtag #WandaRenuncia (Spanish for "Wanda Resign") began trending on Twitter soon after Rosselló announced his intention to resign.[17][18][19][20] Vázquez said on Twitter that she had no interest in becoming governor,[21] and that she would take the position only if she were constitutionally required to.[22]

On July 31, Rosselló announced that he was appointing Pedro Pierluisi as the new Secretary of State; the secretary of state supersedes the secretary of justice in the order of succession.[23] On August 1, however, the Puerto Rican Senate blocked Pierluisi from being confirmed as secretary of state in time for Rosselló's resignation on August 2.[24] Upon Rosselló's resignation, Pierluisi succeeded to the governorship in a de facto manner instead of Vázquez. However, he was not confirmed by the Senate, calling into question the validity of his governorship.[25]

On August 7, 2019, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds and removed him from office, effective at 5 p.m. AST. At that time, Vázquez became the second female governor of Puerto Rico.[26][27]

Vázquez stated she wants to recover Hurricane Maria relief funds, and review all government contracts to ensure they are managed correctly, free of corruption. She said she wants to work with President Donald Trump to help the island of Puerto Rico and its 3.2 million American citizens.[28] She stated all contracts signed by Ricardo Rosselló would be reviewed.[29] At the same time, HUD (Housing and Urban Development) stated that hurricane funds would be delayed to Puerto Rico due to corruption, and incapacity to absorb funds for projects, respectively.[30]

In the aftermath of 2019–20 Puerto Rico earthquakes residents discovered unused aid from Hurricane Maria in a warehouse in Ponce and as a result Vázquez fired her emergency management director.[31] On July 21, 2020, the Puerto Rico Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor's Panel opened a case against Vázquez for alleged violation of the Commonwealth's ethics law, as well as federal regulations, related to her handling of aid to the earthquake victims.[32] She responded by accusing the judge in charge of the investigation of being a supporter of her primary elections challenger Pedro Pierluisi. Vázquez was ordered by the panel to present evidence in the form of photos which she claimed demonstrated that political motives were behind the investigation, but she failed to provide said evidence.[33]

On March 12, 2020, Vázquez declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico and activated the Puerto Rican National Guard as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Puerto Rico.[34]

On October 6, 2020, Vásquez endorsed Donald Trump for the 2020 United States presidential election.[35]

2020 primariesEdit

On August 16, 2020, Vázquez lost the gubernatorial primary race to Pedro Pierluisi. With 75.6% of voting stations reporting, Pierluisi had won about 57.9% of the votes to Vazquez’s 42.1%, clinching the nomination for New Progressive Party. Pierluisi claimed victory after Vázquez recognized his lead and said she respected the will of voters.[36][37]

Personal lifeEdit

Vázquez is married to Jorge Díaz Reverón, a judge in Caguas, Puerto Rico. She has two daughters, Stephanie and Beatriz Díaz Vázquez.[14]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Gobernadora nombra secretaria de Justicia y director de Ética Gubernamental en receso". Primera Hora (in Spanish). August 18, 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Sanchez, Ray; Levenson, Eric (July 25, 2019). "Likely successor of Puerto Rico's disgraced governor in crosshairs of wary protesters". CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  3. ^ "Puerto Rico Gov. Vázquez Outlines Plans for Island After Political Turmoil". NBC Miami. August 20, 2019. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  4. ^ "Wanda Vázquez Garced fue parte de la Asociación de Secretarios de Justicia de los demócratas". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). August 21, 2019. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Fuerte y sentimental la Procuradora de las Mujeres". PrimeraHora.
  6. ^ "Wanda Vázquez Garced". www.pressreader.com.
  7. ^ "Wanda Vázquez era la siguiente opción para gobernadora de Puerto Rico, pero no quiere el puesto". CNN (in Spanish). July 28, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Robles, Frances (July 29, 2019). "Protests Are Still Erupting in Puerto Rico. This Time, It's Over Wanda Vázquez as Governor". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  9. ^ "Portal de la Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico". www.ramajudicial.pr. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  10. ^ https://www.fortaleza.pr.gov/conoce/gobernadora
  11. ^ Insisten en renuncia de Wanda Vázquez: Líder cameral dice que este paso ayudaría a la jefa de Justicia a demostrar su integridad. Ayeza Díaz Rolón. EL VOCERO November 30, 2018. Accessed March 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Wanda Vázquez Garced". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). December 1, 2016.
  13. ^ "Confirman a Wanda Vázquez como Secretaria de Justicia". Telemundo PR. January 18, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Del Real, Jose A.; Robles, Frances (July 24, 2019). "Who Is Wanda Vázquez, Who Is in Line to Become Puerto Rico's Next Governor?". New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  15. ^ "Puerto Rico Governor's Resignation Shakes Bankrupt Commonwealth". Bloomberg. July 24, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  16. ^ "Manifestantes piden la renuncia de Wanda Vázquez". El Nuevo Día. July 25, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Cole, Brendan (July 25, 2019). "#WandaRenuncia Trends As Puerto Ricans Call for Ricardo Rosello's Likely Successor As Governor to Resign As Well". Newsweek. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  18. ^ Steinbuch, Yason (July 25, 2019). "Puerto Ricans will continue protests if governor's likely successor takes office". New York Post. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Martínez, Gina. "Puerto Rico's Governor Is Resigning. But His Successor Worries Protestors Too". Time. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  20. ^ De Jesús Salamán, Adriana (July 25, 2019). ""Wanda renuncia" adorna calles de San Juan". Noticel. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  21. ^ Amir Vera and Leyla Santiago. "The woman who was next in line to be Puerto Rico's governor doesn't want the job". CNN. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  22. ^ Robles, Frances (July 29, 2019). "Protests Are Still Erupting in Puerto Rico. This Time, It's Over Wanda Vázquez as Governor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  23. ^ "Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló wants Pedro Pierluisi to succeed him". NBC News.
  24. ^ Coto, Dánica. "Puerto Rico Still Unsure Who'll Be Governor Within Hours". NBC New York.
  25. ^ "Puerto Rico gets new governor after text scandal". BBC News. August 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Mazzei, Patricia; Robles, Frances (August 7, 2019). "Puerto Rico Supreme Court Rules New Governor Was Unlawfully Sworn In". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  27. ^ "Portal de la Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico". www.ramajudicial.pr. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  28. ^ Coto, Dánica (August 16, 2019). "AP Interview: Puerto Rico governor to stay, fight corruption". AP NEWS. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  29. ^ "Contracts Signed by Former Puerto Rican Governor May Go Under Review. Will This Lead to Change? - The Takeaway". WNYC Studios. January 29, 1978. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  30. ^ "HUD Delays Hurricane Aid Citing P.R. Corruption, V.I. Capacity". St. John Source. August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  31. ^ "Puerto Rico residents outraged after discovering unused aid from Hurricane Maria". NBC News. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  32. ^ "FEI ofrece detalles de la investigación a Wanda Vázquez". Primera Hora. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  33. ^ elvocero.com, Redacción. "PFEI ordena entrega de evidencia a defensa de Wanda Vázquez". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  34. ^ Gresik, Dylan (March 13, 2020). "Governor of Puerto Rico declares emergency, activates National Guard in response to coronavirus". Military Times. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  35. ^ Castronuovo, Celine. "Puerto Rico governor endorses Trump". The Hill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  36. ^ https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/puerto-rico-governor-vazquez-loses-primary-race-to-pierluisi/ar-BB181Adl?li=BBnbcA1
  37. ^ https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-gov-wanda-vazquez-loses-primary-pro-statehood-party-n1236901

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
César Miranda
Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico
2017–2019
Succeeded by
Dennise Longo Quiñones
Political offices
Preceded by
Pedro Pierluisi
De facto
Governor of Puerto Rico
2019–present
Succeeded by
Pedro Pierluisi
Elect