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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Judge rules for removal of Torres Rodríguez as a ‘shadow delegate’


Elizabeth Torres Rodríguez


By THE STAR STAFF


Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos ruled in favor Monday of removing Elizabeth Torres Rodríguez as a member of the “shadow delegates” elected to lobby in the U.S. Congress for statehood for Puerto Rico.


Cuevas Ramos ruled that Torres Rodríguez, who was sworn into the position in July 2021, violated Article 12 related to the duties of the delegates contained in Act 167.


The judge examined three reports that Torres Rodríguez was required to submit every 90 days regarding the work she had carried out. He noted that the third report that Torres Rodríguez submitted was in video form, which is not in violation of the law, but did not list any concrete action related to her duties as delegate.


Instead, she spent the good part of over an hour of video criticizing the island government.


“She begins by asking the Governor of Puerto Rico about what he has done for statehood and stating that he is anti-statehood and a leftist leader,” the judge noted. “An image immediately appears that it is a collage of photos of different public figures from the health sector and local politics.”


It is noteworthy that, on the assortment of photos, the word “murderer” appears diagonally, the judge observed. Next starts a montage of various newspaper clippings, in which the image of Torres Rodríguez is shown. The video is narrated by journalists.


Images and videos were integrated with clippings of journalistic notes, which include headlines that “show her displeasure with the Law and the election of Congressional Delegates,” the judge said.


Cuevas Ramos noted that Torres Rodríguez also criticized various members of the New Progressive Party, calling them corrupt or thieves. She accuses them of having hijacked and prostituted statehood and of enriching themselves by selling false expectations. She maintains that the shadow delegation will have no effect that favors the NPP.


“At minute 26:30 she states that in the Report she wants to denounce the political persecution that has Governor of Puerto Rico, the Secretary General of the New Progressive Party and the Director of PRFAA [Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration] have against Mrs. Torres,” the judge said. “She argues that these officials have not stopped accusing her of not doing her job.”


“At minute 29:05 she states that she has filed complaints with the Secretary of Justice against the other Delegates for not doing their job,” Cuevas Ramos added. “She labels them as small groups of Democrats who hate her for being conservative and for being against the gender perspective.”


The judge said he could not take the criticisms leveled by Torres Rodríguez as a summary of the job she has done.


Last year, the island Justice Department sued to seek the removal of Torres Rodríguez, alleging that she failed to comply with her responsibilities based on the provisions of Law 167-2020.


Initially, in April 2022, Cuevas Ramos had dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the controversy was a political matter in which the judicial system should not intervene.


However, the Justice Department appealed the ruling, and the appellate court decided to return the case to Superior Court because it said the evidence should be examined and it should be decided whether Torres Rodríguez has complied with her duties as a statehood lobbyist in the U.S. House of Representatives or if she should be removed.

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