How “Ricky Leaks” Exposed Puerto Rico’s Governor and Sparked a Movement to Oust Him

Half a million people took to the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday in a historic protest, more than a week after the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico published 889 pages that included violently misogynistic and homophobic online chats between Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló and other government officials. The leaked documents revealed Rosselló had mocked victims of Hurricane Maria and joked about shooting San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. It also exposed rampant corruption within the Puerto Rican government. Governor Rosselló and the 11 others implicated in the message scandal have been issued summonses by the island’s Justice Department. Two top officials have resigned since the scandal broke, including former Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín, but Rosselló is resisting calls to step down, saying the messages were “done on people’s personal time” and a result of working long, stressful days. We speak with Carla Minet, executive director of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ricky Martin and More Protests Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló

Accompanied by some of Puerto Rico’s most famous performers, thousands of people marched to the governor’s residence in San Juan on Wednesday chanting demands for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign after the leak of online chats that show him making misogynistic slurs and mocking his constituents. The crowd ranged from teenagers to retirees, with some waving the island’s flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue to symbolize their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. Musicians Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny marched and addressed the crowd. Police erected concrete barricades and shop owners covered store windows with metal sheeting or plywood as if a hurricane were coming. The multicolored umbrellas that form a photogenic awning over the street in front of the governor’s mansion were taken down. The turnout filled several city blocks in colonial Old San Juan but appeared to fall short of the many tens of thousands that some Rosselló opponents had predicted. Many older protesters went home before nightfall as chanting young people filled Old San Juan’s Totem Plaza and the first few blocks leading up to the 16th century fortress where the governor resides. Karla Villalón has three elementary-age children and an 81-year-old grandmother. Her kids have been uprooted twice in two years when first one school, then another, was closed by budget cuts under Rosselló. Her grandmother, a retired teacher, is anguished over the possibility of losing her pension in future rounds of cutbacks. Villalón was outraged when Rosselló’s former education secretary was arrested and accused of steering millions in improper contracts to politically connected contractors. Then hundreds of pages of online chats between Rosselló and members of his administration leaked, revealing the men mocking women, the disabled and victims of Hurricane Maria. “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has joined protests in New York demanding the resignation of Puerto Rico’s governor. Miranda led about 200 people, many from Puerto Rico, at a rally in Manhattan’s Union Square on Wednesday. They waved Puerto Rican flags and followed him to a drumbeat, chanting in Spanish, “Viva Puerto Rico libre,” which translates to “Long live free Puerto Rico.” A leaked series of chat messages has compounded outrage over corruption. The messages show the governor and key aides mocking women, the disabled and Hurricane Maria victims. Miranda said the alleged corruption surrounding the governor of the U.S. territory “is the last straw and Puerto Ricans are standing up against it.”

In San Juan, a ‘wide swath’ of Puerto Ricans takes to the streets to demand Rossello resign

Massive protests filled San Juan’s streets Monday, even as the heat index topped 100 degrees. Demonstrations have been growing for nearly two weeks since the release of damaging chat messages exchanged by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello and his inner circle. NPR’s Adrian Florido talks to Amna Nawaz about the roiling political crisis, the territory’s economic struggles and Rosello’s response.

Shep Smith presses Puerto Rico’s Governor: Attacks on your own people are not mistakes

Puerto Rico’s Ricardo Rossello addresses scandal, says he won’t seek re-election but won’t immediately resign in first interview since ‘Rickygate’ scandal broke.