Rene Perez Joglar, a.k.a. Residente of Calle 13, sat down with Trevor Noah to discuss the political climate in Puerto Rico and he made his stances very clear. For one, he wants for Puerto Rico to finally have a say on who they elect to be their president rather than just sitting on the sidelines. Puerto Rico, a territory of the U.S., is trying to retain it’s own sovereignty, but not being able to choose a leader has really impacted the island nation, according to Perez Joglar.
“I’m on of the 5 percent of people from Puerto Rico that believe in the independence of Puerto Rico,” Residente told Noah. “And, of course, it’s because I would like it to be like the U.S. with one flag, one national anthem, and with a president. We don’t have a president, well we have Trump as the president, but we don’t get to vote for him.”
Residente also talked candidly about how he was banned from performing in Puerto Rico and recently return to put on a show. Residente confirmed that he at one point called a leader of Puerto Rico a “son-of-a-b•tch,” which led to his music being censored and him being banned from entering his home country. He even talked about how his abuela was never able to watch him perform. Luckily for him, the person he called out lost his reelection and Residente was welcomed back to the island.
Did someone say machísmo is dead? During a radio bit, Residente and Rocky the Kid set out to discuss domestic violence against women, and as the conversation moved to social media, it devolved into threats of physical violence against each other. Brace yourselves. During a “Things You Didn’t Know” segment on Spanish radio program “El Despelote,” radio hosts Angelique “Burbu” Burgos and Roque “Rocky the Kid” José Gallart brought up a fun fact: The United Nations made Nov. 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Of course, this topic may feel close to home given that as many as 70 percent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence. To levy the heavy topic, Burbu asked her fellow radio hosts if they knew why the feminist movement identifies with the color purple.
They all said it was because of the color represents the color bruises leave on physically abused women, according to Primera Hora. Burbu clarified that it was because of the color blend of pink and blue, to signify equal rights.
Social media astrologer and influencer Mariela “Mela” Pabón sounded the alarms in a now-deleted tweet.
In the tweet, she called Rocky the Kid a “charlatán,” and called on the stars (in the sky) to “conspire so that this country has a future without you on the radio and television.” The tweet went viral, and it wasn’t until hours later that she realized Rocky the Kid wasn’t the first to say the feminist movement was represented by the color of a bruise. It was fellow radio host El Giga. She deleted the tweet and followed up with an apology tweet.
“Dear ones, I deleted the tweet because I want to be responsible with information,” she later tweeted in Spanish. “I listened to the complete audio and it is heard that it was not Rocky, but Giga who says it and the others speak that they thought the same. I heard it out of context and it is obvious that if heard alone, it shocks.” She went on to emphasize that, “we are in critical moments regarding gender violence in PR and these issues are sensitive. I will always denounce machismo wherever it comes from, but dialogue is also necessary to understand these issues. Therefore, I apologize.”
Still, her initial tweet set off a wave of angry responses, including from Residente.
While Residente responded to her initial, now-deleted tweet, he continued the conversation online to tweet, “What is scary is not the comment [about the bruises] but the people who defend the insensitivity in it. Normalizing this behavior encourages violence against women to be natural. You have to be an animal not to understand this!”
Later, he would take to Instagram to share an IGTV rant on the topic while the information was still not clarified. In the IGTV video, he passionately denounced Rocky The Kid (though later we learn that it was El Giga who thought up the bruise correlation), and called on the SBS radio station to take action. Residente captioned the video “Today we recognize the day against the violence done to women. my message is clear, we do not want more violence done by men to women. I’m sure that a network like SBS will do the right thing.”
Rocky the Kid responded to Residente’s passionate plea by calling him a “dangerous” person and accusing him of being an abuser.
You still with me on this novela? This is supposed to be about women, and here we are talking about men. Rocky the Kid had beef that Residente didn’t pull a Mela and take back his comments against Rocky the Kid. So, the next day, Rocky the Kid had his daily radio platform and used it to call Residente an impulsive, “even dangerous” person, claiming that Residente even has the “face of an abuser.” Rocky even threatened physical violence, “You’re going to slap me, but you’ll lose your nose.” Que que? Machísmo is alive and well, mi gente. Residente responded to say, “Stop defending these brutes and get yours. Imagine that your mother or grandmothers went through this and understand that you can not allow such comments.”
El Giga has not tweeted any response. Mela, however, tweeted, “I still think that the media are full of macharranerías and hope that this yields more responsible conversations of this topic in public forums. I will do the same to corroborate the info well before reacting impulsively.” She later screenshotted her tweets to her Instagram story to tell her followers that this was the last she will speak of it.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans shouted “Ricky, renuncia!” as they marched through the streets of Old San Juan in its fifth and largest protest calling for the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
Early in the demonstration, Puerto Rican stars like Bad Bunny, Residente, Ricky Martin, PJ Sin Suela and more gathered in front of the Capitolio, where they held large Puerto Rican flags and signs that read “los enterraron sin saber que somos semillas,” and encouraged a roaring crowd to not abandon their fight. As the artists stood atop a white truck in the midst of protestors, activist Tito Kayak, who famously placed the Puerto Rican flag on the Statue of Liberty’s crown in 2000 in protest of the US’ presence in Vieques, scaled the flagpole in an attempt to remove the American flag. The crowd erupted in cheers, chanting “Tito, Tito,” showing that the protest in the US territory extends beyond the people’s grievances with their local government.
Bad Bunny took to the streets of Puerto Rico with his fellow Americans to protest a governor they want out of office.
Protests erupted on Saturday after Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published 889 pages of a private Telegram chat between the governor and some of his officials. The messages included profanity-laced homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic comments about female politicians, celebrities and protestors and hard-hearted jokes about the victims of Hurricane María. For the people of Puerto Rico, who were just rocked by a money-laundering scheme by its education and health leaders and endured repeated neglect and abuse by both its local and federal governments following the devastating hurricane, the chats symbolized the final straw.
As darkness fell on Wednesday, some of the celebrities spoke out.
“This government has to begin respecting the people. We can’t stop protesting,” Residente, born René Pérez Joglar, said. Later, Puerto Rican singer iLe, Residente’s younger sister, sang the original, revolutionary version of La Borinqueña, with demonstrators, holding their flags and fists in the air, joining her in song, belting, “Vámonos, borinqueños, vámonos ya, que nos espera ansiosa, ansiosa la libertad.”
By la Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, tension sparked in the mostly-peaceful protest in the late hours of the night. Demonstrators, some throwing bottles of water and fireworks, busted through a barricade. Police fired tear gas, dispersing the massive crowd and angering local residents who allege officers discharged on empty streets where elders and youth in their homes struggled to breathe as a result of the smoke.
Other areas of the old city looked like a war zone, with officers chasing and shooting rubber bullets at protestors, trash bags blazing on cobblestone streets and the windows of graffiti-laden establishments shattering.
According to authorities, at least seven protesters were arrested during the protests and four police officers were injured. There is also an investigation into an officer who forcefully grabbed a demonstrator alleging she was trying to jump over a barrier, though footage of the incident later revealed she was not.
Motorcycles also thundered through the city early Thursday morning, as a protest caravan of thousands of motorcyclists, led by El Rey Charlie and reggaetoneros Brytiago, Noriel, and Ñengo Flow, traveled from Trujilo Alto to Old San Juan in a journey that captivated the island.
People on the island are relentless in demanding that their voices be heard.
“We won’t stop. The oppression is over. The repression is over. Ricky, resign or we will take you out because the people put you there and we are ready to remove you. We want you out,” El Rey Charlie, a beloved motorist on the island, told Puerto Rican network WAPA-TV.
Outside of San Juan, groups around the island also took to the streets. In the States, the diaspora and their allies similarly demonstrated in Orlando, New York, Miami, Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio and more, while international actions occurred in the Dominican Republic and Spain as well.
Despite the massive uprising, Rosselló has contended that he would not resign. The governor, who previously apologized for his “improper act,” said that he believes he could win over the people of Puerto Rico.
“I recognize the challenge that I have before me because of the recent controversies, but I firmly believe that it is possible to restore confidence and that we will be able, after this painful process, to achieve reconciliation,” he said in Spanish. “I have the commitment, stronger than ever, to carry out the public policy.”
The governor is desperately trying to get people to forget about the unacceptable and offensive conversations he was involved.
As Rosselló insists he would not step down, the president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez Núñez, has already appointed three lawyers to investigate the contents of the leaked chats to determine whether an impeachment process can begin.
Additionally, Puerto Rico’s non-voting delegate to Congress Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, who is a member of the governor’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party, has called for a meeting among her PNP colleagues.
There is no shortage of corruption that people want to get rid of right now.
“There must be an urgent meeting of the directory of @pnp_pr to discuss everything that is happening,” González-Colón said on Twitter.
President Donald Trump also took the opportunity to lambast the embattled governor as well as criticize the island, including the mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz, for corruption.
President Trump weighed in on the matter and used it to attack an island still recovering from the hurricane and the mayor of San Juan.
He continued: “This is more than twice the amount given to Texas & Florida combined. I know the people of Puerto Rico well, and they are great. But much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!”
But for many protesters, the marches aren’t just about sending a message of indignation to Rosselló, but rather to all corrupt politicians on the archipelago as well as the colonial federal government. Protest posters illustrate Rosselló with Trump’s hair to compare the two abhorred leaders, while vandalism on concrete walls screams for the resignation of the governor, the fiscal control board and the island’s colonial ties to the U.S.
Today and tomorrow, the people say, the uprising continues, with demonstrations planned across Puerto Rico and its diaspora in the US and worldwide.