Thousands of protestors have taken to the streets of Puerto Rico for the past week in what has been an unprecedented act of mobilization. These mass demonstrations in the archipelago and the global diaspora are calling for the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign, spurred by a number of recent events.
The protests are embedded within a larger fight against a crisis of corruption that has enveloped the archipelago. Former Education Secretary Julia Keleher and former Health Insurance Administration executive director Angela Avila-Marrero were among those arrested and charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, electronic fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to launder money.
On July 10, excerpts leaked of a telegram chat, of which the Governor of Puerto Rico was a member. In the transcript that took place in late 2018 to early 2019, members of Rosselló’s cabinet, aides, and advisors exchanged sexist comments about women politicians, including calling former New York City Council member, Melissa Mark-Viverito, a “puta” (whore) and suggesting she be physically attacked.
The chat demonstrated a consistent pattern of sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, fat shaming, and anti-Black racism against the people of Puerto Rico.
Four days later, 889 pages of the chat were released by the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico, where the public laid eyes on privileged discussions regarding public policy aired out in the chat, potentially incurring in criminal behavior. Among the 12 chat members were lobbyist Elías Fernando Sánchez; now former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin, who resigned amid what is referred to as #Telegramgate; and Christian Sobrino, who also resigned from his positions as Puerto Rico’s CFO, Governor representative in the Fiscal Control Board, and his four other advisory and executive positions in the government.
The messages also used memes and pictures to deride politicians and other public figures. A…