Washington, DC — Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez ( D-IL ) responded to Thomas Rivera Schatz, Puerto Rican Senate President and a leader of the Statehood Party, who used the masculine pronoun "señor" repeatedly to describe Ana Matosantos, the only female member of Puerto Rico's Financial Oversight and Management Board ( known locally as the Junta de SupervisiÃ"n Fiscal or simply the Junta ). It occurred during a radio interview with Carmen Jovet on AM 610 NotiUno radio ( www.metro.pr/pr/noticias/2017/07/03/rivera-schatz-llama-senor-ana-matosantos-entrevista-radial.html ) and was widely regarded as a homophobic slur from a politician and party with a record of hostility towards the LGBT community.
"This crossed a line," Rep. Gutiérrez said. "This wasn't an accident or a slip of the tongue, this fits the pattern of how Statehooders relate to the LGBT community — namely: with hostility and homophobia. What matters is that one of the most senior leaders of the Puerto Rican government thinks it is OK to talk this way and it reveals a lot about the conservative politics of the pro-statehood movement. Making fun of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity is never okay — in Puerto Rico or anywhere else. I am the last one to support anything the Junta is up to, but homophobic remarks? That is beneath the dignity even of the Statehooders and makes President Trump look mature and well-adjusted by comparison."
Rep. Gutiérrez recently spoke on the House floor to warn his fellow Democrats that Statehooders in Puerto Rico are not political allies ( video and text: bit.ly/2sUVb19 ).
Rep. Gutiérrez fought harder than anyone else in Congress against the Financial Oversight and Management Board of which Ms. Matosantos is a member. The Junta was put in place as part of the PROMESA Act passed in 2016 to wrest power from local elected officials and install an unelected board of eight members. Ms. Matosantos was an appointee nominated by Democrats in Congress.
Rep. Gutiérrez is in his 13th term representing the Fourth District of Illinois. He has lived, worked and studied in Puerto Rico at various times in his life and was born ( in Chicago ) to parents who themselves migrated from Puerto Rico in the 1950s. He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.