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Puerto Rico governor urged to resign over ‘cocksuckers’ messages

Nick Duffy July 15, 2019
Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico attends a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on October 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico attends a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on October 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

The governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló is facing calls to resign, after a leaked group chat revealed he made anti-gay jokes to senior aides.

Rosselló, a Democrat who has been governor of the US territory since 2017, faced outrage after the contents of his private messages with top aides and officials were leaked.

In the messages, Rosselló and his staff both use homophobic and misogynistic slurs, targeting political opponents as well as Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin.

Governor and officials mocked opponents as ‘cocksuckers’

In one exchange, the group mocked senator Eduardo Bhatia, to which Rosselló replied: “Historic cocksucker levels.”

On another occasion, Rosselló referred to journalist Benjamín Torres Gotay as an “unprecedented cocksucker.”

The governor’s officials also mocked a photo of a feminist activist wearing a T-shirt reading “Antipatriarchy, Feminist, Lesbian, Trans, Caribbean, Latin American,” to which the governor responded “That must be some type of record, isn’t it?”

Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello is interviewed by a TV channel after a House vote at the Capitol December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello is interviewed by a TV channel after a House vote at the Capitol December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty)

In other messages, Rosselló’s officials made homophobic references to Ricky Martin.

Finance chief Christian Sobrino had joked: “Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin… Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f**ks men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”

The governor’s second-in-command Luis Rivera Marin has already resigned over the messages, alongside Sobrino.

However, Rosselló has resisted calls to step down, though he has issued an “apology to all the people I have offended.”

He told media on Saturday (July 13): “We do not give up on the work under way, and today more than ever, many people are counting on my commitment to that work.”

Ricky Martin: Governor Ricardo Rosselló unfit to lead Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin has called on the governor to resign, hitting out at the “completely abhorrent” messages on Twitter.

The out singer and father-of-three hit out at the “intolerant, arrogant, homophobic, macho and violent personality of everyone involved.”

He added: “We CAN NOT allow our Puerto Rico to be in the hands of such ‘leaders’.

“It is shameful and unacceptable and it is not resolved with an apology.

“This is NOT the government we need. This is NOT the Puerto Rico that our grandparents and parents built, let alone the one we want to leave to our children.

“This is NOT the government that was promised to us in the political campaign that led Roselló to the governorship.

“The governor, with his insults and his jokes, shows us who he really is.”

In public, governor claimed to oppose intolerance

Rosselló had sought to portray himself in public as an LGBT+ ally.

In March, he signed an executive order banning so-called gay conversion therapy on minors.

He said at the time: “I strive for Puerto Rico to be a society in which everyone, no matter who they love, can be accepted and live without fear of persecution.

“This includes the most vulnerable in society, our children, who must be supported and loved.”

More: Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló

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