Puerto Rico has been under the global radar due to the protests that have been happening. Recently, a few government and ex-government officials were arrested by the FBI due to a corruption scheme inside the Department of Education and the Health Insurance Administration. After that, a Telegram chat was leaked involving the governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló and several of his officials. This has been denominated in social media as #RickyLeaks or #TelegramGate.
The contents of the chat uncovered media manipulation by the government, homophobic and sexist comments, and how they used their political party to ‘troll’ or go against anyone who opposed their ideals.
The Telegram Chat
The Investigative Journalism Center (CPI) in Puerto Rico published the 889 page Telegram Chat for the public to read on Saturday July 13, 2019. You can read the chat here. This began to get covered in social media and news outlets and people were appalled by the contents of this chat.
Note: The Investigative Journalism Center has done a tremendous job of uncovering different issues within our government. You can donate and support their efforts here.
With this chat, we could confirm that they manipulated the narrative in social media and news outlets. They made sexist and homophobic comments. They body shamed a supporter of their political party. They lightly joked about things that should require attention and, most importantly, action.
The most disgusting thing I found in that chat is how they made fun of the bodies inside the Institute of Forensic Sciences after Hurricane María. There were more than 4,000 deaths after the Hurricane, most directly linked to the hurricane aftermath: not having utilities (power, water, etc), and other reasons. There are still families that haven’t been able to bury their loved ones because they haven’t released their bodies.
There have been daily protests happening since Monday (July 15), with 99% of them being non-violent. The biggest protest so far happened on Wednesday July 17, with approximately 500,000 people protesting in San Juan and other people protesting in different cities in Puerto Rico (and the mainland).
The biggest protest will happen tomorrow Monday July 22. The main highway will be closed for transit so people can mobilize there, the biggest mall in PR (Plaza las Americas) will be closed, and this protest will start at 9am (the other ones have happened during the afternoon). This is a historic moment for Puerto Rico, the goal/expectation for this protest is to have more than 649,791 (41.76%) people, which is the amount of people (registered to vote) who voted for Ricardo Rosselló during the 2016 elections.
I am confident that we’ll reach that amount and hopefully exceed it so this can serve as a way to show the governor that we’re not playing around with this and we want him out. Whenever he’s asked why he’s not resigning, he uses the excuse: “the people of Puerto Rico elected me as his governor”. Tomorrow’s protest will show him that he has no support left. He should take responsibility for his actions since he was elected and resign. He’s delaying the inevitable.
Puerto Rican artists like René Pérez Joglar (Residente), Bad Bunny, Ricky Martin, Tommy Torres, and more, have supported this movement by joining the protests and using their craft to send a message.
This song by Residente, iLe and Bad Bunny is directed towards the governor Ricardo Rosselló and what’s been happening during the past week.
Puerto Rico is united
It has been wonderful to see Puerto Ricans so united. There are no political parties, there is no social status, there’s only one resolve: to rise up and put this corruption and abuse against the Puerto Rican people on display, to demand accountability, to demand change.
Seeing all of this happen makes me immensely proud of my island and our beautiful people. I love my Puerto Rico, I am proud of being puertorriqueña.
Something changed in us. We won’t be silenced anymore.