Antonio Soto Díaz
|Antonio Soto Díaz|
|Member of the Puerto Rico Senate
from the Guayama district
January 2, 2009 – September 16, 2011
August 9, 1949|
Patillas, Puerto Rico
|Died||January 4, 2016
Arroyo, Puerto Rico
|Political party||New Progressive Party|
Antonio "Toñito" Soto Díaz (August 9, 1949 – January 4, 2016), commonly known as El Chuchín, was a Puerto Rican politician and former Senator.
Early years and studies
Antonio Soto Díaz was born on August 9, 1949 in Patillas, Puerto Rico. He is the son of farmer Jesús Soto de Jesús and Juana Díaz Torres. He completed his elementary school at the Second Unit School of Pitahaya in Arroyo, and in 1967 graduated from Carmen Bozello de Huke High School. That same year, he began his studies at the Guayama Catholic University, transferring to the Ponce campus later. In 1977, he completed his Bachelor's degree in Sociology with a minor in French.
Soto described himself in an interview as a "hard worker". He said he worked as a barber, school teacher, butcher, carpenter, among other jobs.
In 1978, Soto began law studies in Ponce. At the same time, he entered the professional world, developing an interest in auto sales. He decided to move to Florida and in 1989 became an auto salesman. In 1996, he returned to Puerto Rico, establishing his own auto dealer called Toñito Soto Auto Sales, in Arroyo.
Soto Díaz was elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico for the Guayama District at the 2008 general elections. Soto received 24.96% of the votes, along with Carlos Javier Torres from the same party. During his time in the Senate, Soto was President of the Committee of Commerce and Cooperativism, as well as Vice-president of the Committees of Banking, Consumer Affairs and Public Corporations. He was also a member of the Committees of Agriculture and Government.
On May 31, 2011, Soto admitted that someone had given him a car, specifically a Bentley, because he "was a good guy". This ignited an investigation from the Ethics Committee on the senator's finances which showed some irregularities. Aside of this, there were lawsuits filed by members of his party (Thomas Rivera Schatz) and of the opposing party (Eder Ortiz), among others.
The senator was also under criticism for other reasons, like spending too much time in the media, collaborating in radio and comedy shows. He also made an attempt to hire a known model, Yadira Hidalgo, and insinuated he had done it for her physical attributes. Although he denied the claims, the President of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, ordered him to cancel the pending contract. After that, Soto Díaz claimed he knew witchcraft and said "the ones that twisted my words, will pay". However, he also said that he would dedicate more time to his job as senator instead of "parading to the press".
Several days later, more irregularities arose from the financial reports of his campaign indicating false reports, illegal contributions, and incongruencies in revenues. Soto Díaz denied any wrongdoing and swore he wouldn't resign to his position.
Legal and health troubles
After his resignation from the Senate, Soto Díaz was formally accused of tax evasion and illicit enrichment, when he allegedly received money from the legislative funds for diets illegally. In December 2013, he was presented with the documents regarding the accusations which stated that the events had occurred during a trip to the Dominican Republic.
During the course of the trial, the procedures were repeatedly delayed by alleged health problems of Soto. In 2013, he underwent open-heart surgery, which prompted his defense to seek an arrangement. In December 2015, Soto Díaz pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a settlement in which he would have to return approximately $200,000 to the government.
On January 4, 2016, Soto Díaz was found dead in bed by his wife Agnes López Santiago. His doctor informed that he had died of a heart attack while sleeping. A funeral service for Soto was held at the Convention Center of Arroyo, although according to one of his sons, he didn't want one. His remains were later cremated.
Among the politicians that attended the service were Senator Thomas Rivera Schatz, who referred to him as "a good human being". Former senators Rolando Crespo and Héctor Martínez Maldonado were also among those that attended the funeral.
At the time of his death, Soto was married to Agnes López Santiago. They had two children together: Gladimar and Anthony. Soto also had five other children from other relationships: Yadira and Juan Gabriel Soto Martínez, Antonio and Anthony Soto Rivera, and Jinell Soto Figueroa.
- "Chuchin cree que Juanma debe agradecerle". El Nuevo Día. November 8, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Colón, Javier (January 4, 2016). "Muere exlegislador Antonio "Chuchin" Soto". El Nuevo Día. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Caquías, Sandra (December 14, 2012). "Yo de bruto no puedo tener nada". El Nuevo Día.
- "Antonio Soto Díaz". Archived from the original on 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2011-12-30. on SenadoPR (through Wayback Machine)
- Elecciones Generales 2008: Escrutinio General on CEEPUR
- PNP pide que investiguen planillas del Chuchín on Primera Hora; Bauzá, Nydia (June 3, 2011)
- A un nuevo capítulo el novelón del Chuchín Archived June 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. on Primera Hora; Alvarez Jaimes, Yennifer (June 6, 2011)
- En veremos si le meten mano a "El Chuchín" Archived June 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. on El Vocero; Rivera Sánchez, Maricarmen (June 7, 2011)
- Sigue el misterio sobre el Bentley Archived September 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. on El Vocero; Rivera Sánchez, Maricarmen (June 28, 2011)
- Yadira Hidalgo no fue contratada por sus nalgas, dice El Chuchín on Primera Hora; Bauzá, Nydia (July 7, 2011)
- El Chuchín practica la brujería on El Nuevo Día; Rosario, Frances (July 14, 2011)
- El Chuchín dejara las payasadas Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. on El Vocero; Rivera Sánchez, Maricarmen (July 11, 2011)
- Sigue sala’o Chuchin, le cae otra querella Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. on El Vocero; Rivera Sánchez, Maricarmen (July 13, 2011)
- Se fue El Chuchín on Primera Hora; Bauzá, Nydia (September 15, 2011)
- Con su Bentley a otra parte[permanent dead link] on El Vocero; Méndez, Milly (September 15, 2011)
- El Chuchín renuncia a su escaño en el Senado on El Nuevo Día (September 14, 2011)
- "Listo para iniciar el juicio contra Antonio "El Chuchin" Soto". El Nuevo Día. December 17, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Rivera, Manuel E. (June 13, 2013). ""Chuchin" podría llegar a acuerdo con fiscalía por salud". NotiCel. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Baúza, Nydia (August 6, 2015). "El Chuchin tendría que devolver más de $200,000". El Nuevo Día. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Colón, Javier (January 6, 2016). "Recuerdan a Antonio "Chuchin" Soto". El Nuevo Día. Retrieved January 8, 2016.