Pop star Ricky Martin condemned Puerto Rico’s governor for homophobic messages about him
Protests have erupted in Puerto Rico after Ricky Martin slammed the country’s governor following the leak of a group chat containing homophobic messages about the singer.
Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital San Juan to call for Rossello’s resignation and police were forced to use tear gas last night to stop them storming governor Ricardo Rossello’s residence.
Martin has led calls for the resignation of Rossello and his cabinet after they poked fun at the ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ singer and other political opponents in the explicit messages which were revealed last week.
‘It is completely reprehensible and shows the intolerant, arrogant, high-handed, homophobic, sexist and violent character and personality of each one,’ Martin tweeted.
‘We cannot allow our Puerto Rico to be in the hands of such ‘leaders’,’ said Martin, of ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’ and ‘She Bangs’ fame.
Late last night police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in the capital San Juan who shouted: ‘Ricky corrupto!’ in a third day of protests which also questioned Rossello’s handling of the Hurricane Maria emergency and the island’s financial crisis.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello is facing calls to resign following the release of hundreds of pages of text chats in which he and other members of his adminstration use obscene, sexist and homophobic language
Citizens riot near the executive mansion demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rossello in San Juan on Monday night
Martin took to Twitter to complain about the homophobic tweets and call for the resignation of Rossello
The leak of at least 889 pages of the private chat has sunk Rosselló into the deepest crisis of his career.
The chats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, contain vulgar references to Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin’s homosexuality and a series of emojis of a raised middle finger directed at a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances.
One of Rossello’s peers said: ‘Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin. He is such a male chauvinist that he f**ks men because women don’t measure up.’
Rosselló also calls one New York female politician of Puerto Rican background a ‘whore,’ describes another as a ‘daughter of a bitch’ and makes fun of an obese man he posed with in a photo.
The group mentions then-New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who had criticized Democratic Party head Tom Pérez for opposing Puerto Rican statehood.
Referring to Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan who had announced her intent to run against Rosselló in 2020, the governor says, ‘she’s off her meds.’
‘Either that, or she’s a tremendous HP,’ he continues, using the Spanish initials for ‘son/daughter of a bitch.’
Protesters voiced their outrage not only at the messages but also at alleged misappropriation of the funds for Hurricane Maria – which devastated the island in 2017.
Protesters flee from tear gas canisters fire by police on Monday evening in an attempt to break up the demonstrations
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in San Juan and elsewhere in Puerto Rico to protest
A line of riot police block a street leading to the governor’s mansion as Rossello faces ever louder calls to quit
‘We want him arrested, him and his wife jailed for stealing money from the people of Puerto Rico,’ protestor Tatiana Gomez told the local newspaper Primera Hora.
‘It’s time this town stood up to put a stop to this corrupt government,’ Lillianet Maldonado added.
Late Monday Rossello released a statement saying he respected the demonstrators but did not address the calls for his resignation.
The protests erupted after the Center for Investigative Journalism on Saturday released 889 pages of text chats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram in which Rossello and 12 other male members of his administration slander officials, politicians and journalists.
They shared memes, jokes and sexual insults, according to the Center and an exert published by local daily El Nuevo Dia.
In one exchange, chief financial officer Christian Sobrino makes expletive homophobic references to Latin superstar Martin.
Since the ‘Chatgate’ leak, more than 20 other Puerto Rican artists have intensified their criticism of Rossello, including Bad Bunny, Rene Perez and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Thousands march to the Capitol Building and the governor’s mansion on Monday as part of widespread protests
Rossello and his government have also been accused of misusing hurricane relief funds from the US
Singer Andy Montanez performs before protesters during a march demanding the resignation of the governor
The leaders of the U.S. territory’s house and senate said they weren’t planning impeachment proceedings, but an influential association of mayors from Rosselló’s pro-statehood party said he had lost their support.
Puerto Rican artists Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, known Bad Bunny, and René Pérez, known as Residente, both said on Twitter they planned to return to Puerto Rico to join the protests.
Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose production of ‘Hamilton’ on the island is mentioned in the chats, called them ‘a very disturbing portrait of how this Administration operates.’
Late Monday, Rosselló released a statement saying he respected the protests and was taking their message into account.
‘Unfortunately, despite responsible calls for peaceful demonstrations by many participants, a few others decided to damage public property and assault public officials who tried to preserve order and defend the security and rights of all,’ he said.