The leak of a private group chat between Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló and several associates in his executive team has grown into a full-blown scandal on the U.S. territory, with calls across the political spectrum for the governor’s resignation after the full contents in the 889-page document were publicly disclosed Saturday morning through an anonymous source, following partial leaks earlier last week.
The contents in the document reveal a stream of profanity-laced comments in a sexist, misogynistic and homophobic vein directed at opposition leaders, fellow party members and journalists, as well as concerted efforts to manipulate the public narrative and discredit naysayers of the Rosselló administration.
Most of the participants in the controversial chat have stepped down from their respective public positions or canceled their government contracts. Among these is Christian Sobrino, the government’s chief financial officer, and Luis Gerardo Rivera Marín, its State secretary and interim governor. As for Rosselló, he remains steadfast in his position, despite widespread calls for his resignation from opposition leaders and fellow members of Rosselló’s New Progressive Party (NPP).
The following is a summary of some of the most controversial excerpts of the conversation carried out between the chat’s 12 participants, among them Rosselló, made through the messaging app Telegram from late 2018 to January 2019, and which have sparked the biggest political firestorm in the island’s recent history.
Page 16 (November 30, 2018)
Former public affairs secretary Ramón Rosario and public relations advisor Rafael Cerame discuss infiltrating people at the annual convention of the opposition Popular Democratic Party (PDP) to “take pictures”. When the photos arrive, Rosselló orders them to “spread them” on social media.
Page 33 (December 1, 2018)
The name of an NPP representative, Juan Oscar Morales, shows up on an agenda for the PDP convention. Chief of staff Ricardo Llerandi posts a tweet from Morales showing the snafu, to which Rosselló responds “Ha! Great job, guys! We even fool our own people.”
Page 145 (December 6, 2018)
Sobrino calls independent legislator Manuel Natal a “f**ing a**hole” (“jodio cabron”), while Rosselló talks about sending the representative to the police.
Page 157 (December 6, 2018)
Publicists Carlos Bermúdez and Edwin Miranda mock PDP senator Eduardo Bhatia and raise questions about his sexual orientation, after a picture of Bhatia is posted on the group chat. While Bermúdez says “20 years and 200 pounds ago”, Miranda responds with “And seven men ago, too?... sorry.” This draws a rebuke from Sobrino: “That’s inappropriate, Edwin.”
Page 170 (December 7, 2018)
Bermúdez posts a picture of an activist from the Feminist Collective (Colectivo Feminista) with a shirt that reads “Antipatriarchy, Feminist, Lesbian, Trans, Caribbean, Latin American,” to which Rosselló responds, “that must be some type of record, isn’t it?”
Page 189 (December 7, 2018)
Sánchez insults El Nuevo Día journalist and columnist Benjamín Torres Gotay while, oddly, agreeing with him on a pair of tweets that Torres Gotay wrote regarding the special independent prosecutor’s handling of a case involving Justice secretary Wanda Vázquez (“even this a**hole makes sense”).
Page 193 (December 8, 2018)
In one of the most egregious moments in the chat, several members of the group make light of the death of pro-independence leader Carlos Gallisá, with Miranda calling his passing “a great loss for Puerto Rican journalistic demagoguery. Several chat members, among them Cerame and Miranda joke about putting flags at half-mast “for 15 minutes.”
Page 377 (December 12, 2018)
During a pages-long discussion about the Miss Universe pageant, which was airing at the time, Sánchez asks in which pageant NPP representative Evelyn Vázquez had participated in, to which Miranda responds “they closed the Black Angus in 1996,” referring to a brothel that used to operate in the Miramar sector of San Juan.
Page 473 (December 20, 2018)
Bermúdez posts a picture of an obese man in a swimsuit and mockingly asks, “is that Jay? I have my doubts,” referring to local news personality Jay Fonseca.
Page 529 (December 24, 2018)
Rosselló posts a video featuring Bhatia , to which Miranda and Rosario make jokes about Bhatia’s sexuality and the governor adds “historic c**ksucker levels.”
Page 579 (December 28, 2018)
Bermúdez posts a picture of Rosselló greeting an obese man, to which Rosselló responds, “no, I’m not thinner. It’s an optical illusion.” Later, Rosselló says, “I’m still there; it’s my fourth rotation. He generates a very strong gravitational field.”
Page 614 (December 31, 2018)
Rosselló calls Torres Gotay an “unprecedented c**ksucker” after a tweet from the Torres Gotay about ongoing problems with the ferries connecting the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra.
Page 648 (January 2, 2019)
Sobrino says homophobic comments about singer and actor Ricky Martin. “Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin”, he wrote, later saying, “Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f**ks men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”
Page 654 (January 2, 2019)
Sobrino makes light of the difficulties people are havingwith the Vieques ferry. “Anyone who takes the ferry on purpose and complains must be crazy. The ferries have been s**tty for years,” he wrote, to which Rosselló responded “That’s why we are privatizing, folks.
Here are the full contents in the 889-page document: