Trendy – Finger on the Pulse of Guatemala’s Social Media Buzz

September was a big month for Guatemala with every Chapin with a smart phone tweeting madly over everything from the nation-wide elections to the week of celebrations (read: hangovers) for Guatemala’s independence. As usual, we here at XelaWho are here to guide you through the best of what the internet has to offer.

The biggest story this month is the breath of fresh air coming into Guatemalan politics. After the revelations of massive corruption among the Partido Patriota leaders, the former-ruling party in Guatemala, Tweeters responded last month with the #YoNoTengoPresidente hashtag.   All the online outrage, activism and silly memes ended up having a noticeable effect at the polls. From the presidential elections down to our own local race for Xela’s mayor, this election season marked social media as a powerful force in Guatemalan politics. While Lider, the party favoured to win the presidential election, led the charge in spending the combined total 114 million Quetzales ($15 million U.S) literally buying votes with free chickens and mattresses, parties like Encuentro por Guatemala have been turning to social media instead.

Here in Xela, Encuentro’s candidate Luis Grijalva won the mayor election with a fraction of the spending of other parties (see cover story). #LuisGrijalcalde has been the hashtag of choice for Quetzaltecos to celebrate the victory of the avowedly anti-corruption candidate.

For Manuel Baldizon, the favorite to win the presidential elections who didn’t even come second, Guatemalans are helpfully suggesting some future job options #EmpleosParaBaldizon (jobs for Baldizon). One bright spark thinks Baldizon might be able to help out the ailing Donald Trump campaign and another thinks his book How to Lose an Election and Disappoint People could be a best seller. Baldizon’s son is outdoing his dad with the female voters at least (see right).

Corruption has been the word of the month in Guatemala. Hashtag like #CorrupciónNoTeToca and #FraudeElectoral have been buzzing online, with Guatemalans speaking out against some of the more ridiculous examples of election fraud. In years past it would have been dangerous for common folk in Guatemala to publicly call out election fraud but now the door is open 10,000s of Guatemalans are rushing to social media to celebrate a more transparent political climate.

And with Jimmy Morales, comedian and avid blackface wearer (see photos on the right), winning the first round of presidential elections, Guatemalans are offering him some wise words of advice at #MiConsejoParaJimmyEs (my advice for Jimmy is). Among all the well wishes calling for him to stay honest and clean up Guatemalan politics, @locadamisela is looking on the bright side: “well Jimmy… it’s better to be a clown than corrupt.”

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