Ricky Martin was among a plethora of artists protesting in Puerto Rico yesterday (18 July) calling for the commonwealth’s governor to resign.
In a series of Instagram posts across the last 24 hours, the singer rallied on exhausted but impassioned locals and supporters to join a five-day protest against governor Ricardo Rosselló.
This is in a territory in the Caribbean caught in political chaos, corruption scandal, and one haunted by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
‘We’re tired and we’re angry’
Waving flags and holding placards, Puerto Ricans descended onto the streets of San Juan by the thousands. And they were all there for one reason; the resignation of Rosselló.
Waves of people swept onto a boulevard by a beach full of palm trees. Passionate protesters crammed the narrow colonial streets of Old San Juan. Many of whom had been active throughout the five-day protest.
Meanwhile, near the Capitol, where the Legislative Assembly operates from, people shouted rallying-calls as authorities attempted to control the heaving crowds with teargas.
During this, Martin stood on a platform with fellow native artists rapper Reisdente, Bad Bunny, and iLe. All there for the same reason as everyone else.
‘We’re tired of the cynicism,’ he shouted to the cellphone camera in one Instagram post.
‘They put down women. They put down the LGBT community, people with disabilities.
‘Corruption, it is insane. We are tired. We can’t take it anymore.
‘I do live in America, but I have to come to Puerto Rico to let the world know that we will make a change.
‘That Puerto Ricans get together and if we do it orderly, we can make it happen. And that’s why we’re here today. He’s [Rosselló] going to listen to us.
‘We just can’t take it anymore. Puerto Rico has suffered enough. It’s pretty much barbaric what he’s doing.
‘We’re tired and we’re angry.’
In addition, Martin Instagrammed much of the protest, using the widely-used hashtag #RickyRenuncia [Ricardo Resignation]. Martin is often at the forefront of the territory’s politically-charged activist scene.
‘Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist’
Furthermore, the out singer was also at the center of #ChatGate.
On the encrypted messaging app Telegram, just under 900 pages of correspondences between Rosselló and his inner circle of 11 aids and cabinet members were leaked by the Center for Investigative Journalism on Saturday.
There, dozens of messages containing sexist and homophobic remarks rushed to the surface.
But one message targeted Martin.
Finance chief Christian Sobrino had joked: ‘Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin.
‘Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f***s men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.’
Likewise, one group chat member replied to the message with a laughing Donald Trump image.
In addition, Rosselló resisted calls to step down, though he has issued an ‘apology to all the people I have offended.’
‘It is time to rebuild our country’
On the ground that day was Pedro Julio Serrano.
The openly gay LGBTI rights campaigner told Gay Star News over e-mail about why queer people should be pummelling the sidewalks of Puerto Rico.
‘We are part of this struggle to demand the resignation of Ricardo Rosselló because LGBTI people, as the rest of the population, have been affected by the corruption, austerity measures and the discrimination against many sectors of our society.
‘The homophobia and transphobia from this administration is gross, as well as its misogyny, racism, ableism and classism.
‘We are tired of the lack of respect for the more than 4,645 people [following Hurricane Maria] that died because of negligence of the administration and we will not rest until the governor resigns or is impeached.
‘We defeated an effort by Rosselló to legalizae discrimination against LGBTI people through a religious libertt measure and we will contribute to forcing him out of office.
‘We’ve suffered enough and it is time to rebuild our country.’
Why are Puerto Rican people protesting?
Puerto Rico is steeped in a political crisis for three pivotal reasons.
After Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc, it resulted in the death of just under 5,000 civilians in 2017 as well as mass destruction of public buildings and services.
US President Donald Trump repeatedly mocked Rosselló’s meek response, and took the governor until 2018 to directly acknowledge the death.
— Christopher Mendes (@cmendes0101) July 18, 2019
— José M. Encarnación (@encarnajm94) July 18, 2019
Moreover, the country has been in recession for more than a decade. As a result, Rosselló’s administration slashed public spending in an effort to minimize mountainous debt.
On the other hand, Rosselló’s government faced countless corruption scandals as ministers steered public money into private pockets.
However, it was the leaked groupchats that sparked the politically-charged protests. Consequently provoking people to protest in droves as the snowballing scandal has resulted in some ministers resigning.