Vulgar private chat leads multiple Puerto Rican officials to resign, pressure now on governor to step down

A private conversation has led to the resignations of multiple top Puerto Rican officials.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló revealed on Saturday that both his chief financial officer, Christian Sobrino, and secretary of state, Luis G. Rivera Marín, would step down from their positions for their involvement in a profanity-laced private conversation about an ex-New York City official and the federal control board that is overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rosselló promised to remove anyone who participated in inappropriate chats on a messaging system used by government officials. In light of some messages going public, many have called for Rosselló himself to resign.

Rosselló previously apologized for his part in the chat. He reportedly called former New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for “whore” and told the previously mentioned federal control board to “go f*ck yourself.” Rosselló said the messages were a lapse in judgement and that he was working 18-hour days at the time and was not in the right state of mind.

“Aware that the current environment cannot be maintained, I have communicated to all the other public officials involved in the chat that I will have to dispense with their services and/or their advice,” the governor said in a public statement.

He continued, “This is a very painful situation for me, as Governor, as a human being and as a Puerto Rican. But I recognize there is no other way out and there is no worthwhile forgiveness on my part that does not include corrections and clear signs of intent to change.”

Mark-Viverito wrote on Twitter that she believes Rosselló should not be governing Puerto Rico.

“A person who uses that language against a woman, whether a public figure or not, should not govern Puerto Rico … this type of behavior is completely unacceptable,” she wrote.

Pop star Ricky Martin, who is from Puerto Rico, has also weirdly been thrown into the controversy as Rosselló apparently referred to the singer in the chat at one point by making a homophobic comment.

Martin tweeted that Rosselló “lacks the abilities of a true leader, who inspires, stimulates and guides by example so that our people attain a higher level of life.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has also called for Rosselló to resign. Grijalva chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees U.S. territories.

The governor said in his public statement that he has no plans to resign at the moment.

“I was elected by the people and I will continue the mission that was granted to me, now more than ever,” he said.

This controversy comes at a terrible time for Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory is currently in need of billions of dollars in federal funding from the United States and two Puerto Rican officials were just arrested last week as part of a 32-count federal indictment that includes charges of conspiracy.

The chat at the center of this whole fiasco reportedly involved 12 people. Investigators have gone through approximately 900 pages of messages.


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