Puerto Rico Has a New Protest Anthem, New Song Targets Governor Rosselló
“What we are saying is what we are seeing in the streets. We are telling a story of the moment we are in right now.”
Puerto Rican recording artists Bad Bunny, Residente, and iLe released a protest anthem aimed at Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló, on Wednesday. The new song is called “Afilando Los Cuchillos” and has already racked up over 2 million views on Youtube, which is already two-thirds of the population of Puerto Rico.
The title of the song translates to “Sharpening the Knives” in English and joins the widespread protest for Rosselló to step down, due to recent controversy.
Just this past Saturday, 889 pages of private chats between Rosselló and members of his staff were leaked after two of the governor’s former officials were arrested by the FBI on corruption charges. The chats revealed the governor engaging in vulgar dialogue that was homophobic, misogynistic, and mocking the victims of Hurricane Maria.
In response, Puerto Ricans have taken to the streets in mass protests, calling for Rosselló’s resignation—including at La Fortaleza, the official residence of the governor in San Juan.
As of Tuesday, Rosselló has not resigned, claiming that he hadn’t engaged in illegal acts—only “inappropriate” ones. The governor did apologize for the comments in his statement, stating that he had been working long days and was releasing tensions. He was first sworn into office in January 2017.
The new protest anthem addresses the island’s continual history of corruption and abuse at the hands of what they perceive as a dictator. Lyrics include: “We are sharp, like knives/Sparkling up to the edge/Weed must be removed from the plantation/So that none of them take advantage of what is mine.”
“We’re basically telling a story as if we were a newspaper but even better. More open, more direct and more raw,” one of the singers, iLe, told NPR. “What we are saying is what we are seeing in the streets. We are telling a story of the moment we are in right now.”
Singer Residente added that the knife in the song title is a metaphor for cutting through systemic corruption on the island.
Other major Puerto Rican stars have voiced their condemnation over Governor Rosselló. Pop star Ricky Martin, who was insulted by the governor himself for being gay, and Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of Broadway hit “Hamilton”, both spoke out on social media—encouraging citizens to protest.
Incidentally, there’s a similar uproar in the U.S. this week with President Donald Trump—over comments that were deemed racist by many. The president told four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries from which their families emigrated.
The House of Representatives responded by voting on Tuesday to condemn Trump’s tweets, but on Wednesday blocked a proposal to impeach Trump.