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Disgraced Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was just hit with a new round of explosive leaked Telegram messages.
The latest chat — between Rosselló, who’s resigning after weeks of protests, and some of his top aides — repeats the pattern of misogynist insults and slurs against public figures, politicians, and journalists. They also reveal Rosselló’s administration discussed unleashing social media “trolls” to attack his political opponents.
The 97-page document, published by independent journalist Sandra Rodríguez Cotto, dates back to November 2018 and includes some of the same government officials that were part of the nearly 900 pages of the chat published by Centro de Periodismo Investigativo de Puerto Rico in July. The document unmasked officials using homophobic, sexist, and violent remarks and set off protests which forced Rosselló and others to resign.
After Puerto Rico's governor announced his resignation, Wanda Vázquez, the person next in line for the governor's mansion, said she didn’t want the job. Rosselló responded by announcing Pedro Pierluisi, the island’s former Resident Commissioner, as the new nominee. But many protesters don’t want him either, setting up a political crisis on who’s next in charge.
Now, the new messages highlight how the government sought to direct public opinion at the convenience of their own political and partisan agenda. Below are five excerpts of what Rosselló and his cronies discussed.
“Bitch Cray Cray”
Rosselló called former independent candidate for governor Alexandra Lúgaro, who ran against him, a “whore” and said “Bitch Cray Cray.”
In the previous leaked chat, Rosselló had used the same misogynist term against Melissa Mark Viverito, president of the New York City Council.
One of the former communications advisors of the governor, Rafael Cerame, who had also participated in the previous Telegram chat, used the hashtag #MeCagoEnLaIsla, or #IShitOnTheIsland, several times throughout the conversation.
Rosselló called Independent Rep. Manuel Natala “#Mamabicho,” which roughly translates to “cocksucker,” after Natal voted against naming Puerto Rico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center with the name of the late president of the Popular Democratic Party, Héctor Ferrer.
“We must liquidate him today,” Rosselló wrote.
The aftermath of Hurricane Maria
A widely shared meme referring to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria was also shared in the chat by publicist Edwin Miranda. “It smells like Christmas. Last year, it smelled like Vienna sausages, canned ham, gasoline, and electric plant smoke,” the meme reads.
Mobilizing the “trolls”
Instances in the chat show top officials mobilizing social media "trolls" to take action against people who don’t favor their administration.
“Our people in networks should finish her,” former communications advisor of the governor, Carlos Bermúdez, wrote referring to Rodríguez Cotto, who published the new chat. He also called her a “hypocrite, crazy, buscona, a climber and self-conscious.”
Cover image: A demonstrators wearing a mask with the colors of the the Puerto Rico flag, joins a march on Las Americas highway demanding the resignation of governor Ricardo Rossello, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, July 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)