Former Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez has been arrested on allegations of bribery relating to the financing of her 2020 campaign, the latest hit to an island with a long history of corruption that brought fresh political upheaval to the U.S. territory
Ms. Vázquez is accused of participating in a bribery conspiracy with numerous persons, including a Venezuelan-Italian bank owner, a former FBI agent, a bank president, and a political consultant, from December 2019 to June 2020, when she was governor.
The arrest embarrassed and angered many in Puerto Rico who believe the island’s already shaky image has been further tarnished, leaving a growing number of people who have lost faith in their local officials to wonder whether federal authorities are their only hope to root out entrenched government corruption.
Concerns over previous corruption cases caused a delay in federal help for Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria as the US administration put stronger protections in place.
The arrest is also a setback for Ms. Vázquez’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party, which is aiming for a vote next year to become the 51st state in the United States.