Racist Photo Used in Puerto Rico Election Campaign

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A new controversy over the use of racist language against political candidates emerged in the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) candidate's campaign for resident commissioner, Rafael Cox Alomar. It began after a photo of him was posted to Twitter where he is compared with the chimpanzee Yuyo, recently deceased.

The image, which shows the face of Cox Alomar and a message in white letters which read "R.I.P. Yuyo," provoked the condemnation of human rights defenders and social network users primarily because it spread from the Twitter profile of the former president of the Puerto Rico House of Represetnatives and former Justice, Zaida "Cucusa" Hernandez.

Hernandez, who currently serves as principal advisor to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jennifer Gonzalez, and hosts a radio program which defends the agenda of the New Progressive Party (PNP), has tried to move away from the controversy and claimed not to know who uploaded the picture on her profile. However, and despite the allegation that her account was "hacked", she apologized to Cox Alomar.

"I started with Twitter a week ago. I do not know what the photo is about and have not seen it. I am not capable of such grossness. I argue my issues upfront and forcefully, " she said.

"The mere fact that they used my account is enough to tell Mr. Cox that I regret it and assure him, on my honor, that it is not my responsibility. At this cost, I will not use social networks," she said, referring to her elimination of her Twitter account.

While acknowledging the Hernandez's apology, Cox Alomar reaffirmed that the alleged action of the former legislator is the kind of "petty politics" that discourages people.

Translated by NiLP