Despite no longer for running for president, Marco Rubio has taken control of the media cycle in the Sunshine State following a pretty eventful week. But the most notable thing to happen for Rubio is the arrest of 10 protesters that were participating in a 49-hour sit-in in honor of the victims of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. The protest stemmed from the GOP politician’s fearful and divisive rhetoric and policies that affect LGBTQ Floridians of color, according to protesters.
“He continues to terrorize Orlando’s LGBTQ communities of color by adhering to a platform of so-called ‘conservative values,’ which discriminates, dehumanizes and denies access to the American dream,” the protesters wrote in a statement according to NY Daily News.
The protesters’ demands were simple: Equality and an end to gun violence.
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.
In a video that has been making the rounds on social media, two women can be heard telling the Puerto Rican manager of a Burger King restaurant in Florida to “go back to Mexico” after they heard him speaking Spanish to an employee.
Footage of the interaction that was recently shared on Facebook shows the two women in a heated exchange with Ricardo Castillo, the general manager of the restaurant.
The two women were filmed by another customer who happened to be Latina.
Two racist customers at a Burger King in Florida told the manager to go back to Mexico – when he is from the US territory of Puerto Rico.
Another customer videoed the heated exchange as the Spanish-speaking manager told the two women to leave his restaurant near Orlando.
‘Go back to Mexico if you want to keep speaking Spanish,’ one of the woman is heard to say from her seat after overhearing manager Ricardo Castillo speaking in Spanish with an employee.
You can see the video that has gone viral here.
The clip, posted onto Facebook by Neyzha Borrero on July 6, shows Ricardo Castillo, who is Puerto Rican, repeatedly condemn the two women for being prejudiced before asking them to leave after they told him to “go back to Mexico” because he was speaking to an employee in Spanish.
“When you’re in America, you should speak American English,” one of the women can be heard telling Castillo.
Raising his voice, Castillo adds: “Guess what ma’am, I’m not Mexican, I’m not Mexican but you’re being very prejudice and I want you out of my restaurant, right now.”
One of the women then says they’ll leave after they have finished their meal. The general manager retorts: “You know what, I’ll do it for you ma’am, I’ll call the cops.”
Eventually the women get up and leave the restaurant as Castillo tells each of them to have a great day.
Of course, reactions on Twitter came quick and strong.
Nearly everyone on Twitter came to support Castillo and commended him for his calm attitude in the face of discrimination and abuse.
Some pointed out just how common these types of racist exchanges are becoming.
With many people saying that thanks to racist comments from our leaders in government and our media (such as Fox News), people are feeling more emboldened than ever to share their racist views.
Others took to Twitter to tell Burger King that Castillo deserves a big raise for how he handled the situation.
Borrero, the woman who filmed the incident said “I was very surprised by his reaction. I think even though he was being verbally attacked and discriminated, he handled it very, very well. He never used profanity to them. He never insulted them, he just asked them to leave and never come back to his restaurant.”
And some pointed out just how racist this exchange was.
Sadly, it’s totally true. If Castillo had been white and speaking a language other than Spanish, we can pretty much guarantee that this racist, abusive exchange never would of happened.
Share this story with all of your friends by tapping our little share buttons below!