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Thousands call for Puerto Rico governor to resign after chat leak

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Thousands of people demonstrated Monday demanding the resignation of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello following the leak of a group text chat in which he and other officials made obscene, sexist and homophobic remarks about political opponents and others including pop star Ricky Martin, local media reports said.

At nightfall police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in the capital San Juan who shouted: “Ricky corrupto!” in a third day of protests which also questioned Rossello’s handling of the Hurricane Maria emergency and the island’s financial crisis.

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“We want him arrested, him and his wife jailed for stealing money from the people of Puerto Rico,” protestor Tatiana Gomez told the local newspaper Primera Hora.

“It’s time this town stood up to put a stop to this corrupt government,” Lillianet Maldonado added.

Late Monday Rossello released a statement saying he respected the demonstrators but did not address the calls for his resignation.

The protests erupted after the Center for Investigative Journalism on Saturday released 889 pages of text chats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram in which Rossello and 12 other male members of his administration slander officials, politicians and journalists.

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They shared memes, jokes and sexual insults, according to the Center and an exert published by local daily El Nuevo Dia.

In one exchange, chief financial officer Christian Sobrino makes expletive homophobic references to Latin superstar Martin.

“It is completely reprehensible and shows the intolerant, arrogant, high-handed, homophobic, sexist and violent character and personality of each one,” Martin tweeted.

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“We cannot allow our Puerto Rico to be in the hands of such ‘leaders’,” said Martin, of “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She Bangs” fame.

Since the “Chatgate” leak, more than 20 other Puerto Rican artists have intensified their criticism of Rossello, including Bad Bunny, Rene Perez and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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