A major report revealed Saturday that the governor led a smear-campaign against his opposition, using racist and mysoginist remarks to do so.
President of Puerto Rico’s Federation of Mayors, Carlos Molina says the federation has withdrawn its confidence in Governor Ricardo Rossello and that the institution is demanding the governor’s resignation after a lengthy report revealed how Rossello manipulated social media to attack political opposition and frequently used racist and macho language with advisors to carry out the scheme.
“As president of the Federation of Mayors and together with my colleagues, we withdraw the confidence for the re-election … of Governor Ricardo Rossello … and requested that he put the presidency of the New Progressive Party (PNP) in the hands of the party,” declared Molina as he stood among fellow mayors of the island.
President of the Association of Mayors, Jose Abreu, added, “Rossello’s resignation is not for the PNP, but the country.”
“We are facing a serious crisis that has filled all the people with shame and humiliation,” said Abreu. “Men, women, groups, institutions, nobody is saved from the insults … of Rossello. He has to resign, for the good of all of Puerto Rico,” added the local politician.
Elected officials aren’t the only people calling for the governor to quit. Puerto Rico-native singer Ricky Martin tweeted that the comments of the governor and other elected officials are “completely repudiable and denote the character and intolerant, arrogant, arrogant, homophobic, macho and violent personality of each one. We CAN NOT allow our Puerto Rico to be in the hands of such “leaders”,” said the famed singer.
On Saturday, a final 889-page document, published by the non-profit journalism group Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, was released and revealed how the governor, along with other high-ranking officials manipulated public opinion of his Rossello administration through mass media, creating a “troll network” to discredit negative press coverage and criticism from opposition leaders.
Centro’s final draft also shows how the team sent messages through Telegram between late 2018 until January 20 of this year that included sexual, misogynistic and homophobic comments from Rossello and other members of the chat group. Journalists from CBS were also targeted, and Benjamin Torres Gotay from a widely-read newspaper on the island and lawyer John Mudd were both referred to as “c**ksucker”, according to El Nuevo Dia.
The governor has been dismissing calls for his resignation that began earlier this week.
Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marin put in his resignation Saturday evening, saying it was a “moral obligation.”
Not only is the governor being accused of a smear campaign against opposition, but Wednesday, a pair of his ex-senior administration officials were arrested and charged with fraud for abusing federal work contracts from the Department of Education and the Health Insurance Administration (ASES). According to reports, the three corruption cases amount to US$15.5 million in stolen state funds.