With the highest number of Facebook users in Central America and a Twitter population growing by the thousands every month, social media can be a great place to find out what’s buzzing in Guatemala. Of course, there’s also a whole lot of nonsense posted online too, but at XelaWho we like nonsense so here are some of last month’s social media trends, with the interesting & the informative alongside the vacuous & the ludicrous.
Mexico has been rocked in recent weeks by gazolinazo protests —their national oil company Pemex raised the price of gasoline, and people took to the streets to protest in response. In Guatemala —which buys gas from Mexico —prices at the pump have also ticked up a few Quetzales. That adds gasoline to the long list of basic goods that have become untenably expensive. The Guatemalan treasury has kept the value of the Quetzal stubbornly pegged at a ratio of 7.5 to the dollar while markets want it to inflate, and the price of the canasta basica has risen steadily as a result.
To make matters worse, national power company Energuate, freshly resold to Hong Kong based holding company IC Power, is set to raise electricity prices once again. Guatemalan twitter users responded with #noalalza —“no to the rise” —in response to the government’s 2017 budget. They posted pictures of cardboard signs comparing the price of basic goods over the past decade to illustrate their point. “What’s happening here hurts everyone in the country aside from the politicians,” one tuitero said.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom to usher in the new year, though. The chattering classes had a laugh at themselves with #apenaseseneroy —“it’s only January and …” Most of them are too vulgar for your delicate Xelawho editors and thus cannot be reproduced here. A few were tame enough for our virgin eyes: “I’ve already done the math for Holy Week, midyear, and finals,” wrote one financially responsible student. “I’m already eating eggs every week to make my cascarones for carnival,” wrote another. Some were a bit more somber —“I still haven’t been laid” was a common theme.
In the grand tradition of taking the piss out of the ruling class, not least Guatemala’s bumbling president, they also went after Jimmy Morales with #loqueesperodeJimmy —“what I expect from Jimmy.” Responses were typically fatalistic and curt. “That he resigns,” wrote one. “Nothing,” wrote another. “That he tells me a joke -he’s a better comedian than president.” Others were optimistic —hoping that he was “realistic” with his first-year report and that he recognizes the gravity of his position. Good luck with that.
There was some ice for those burns in Xela this month, where temperatures have been dipping below freezing at night. #Mientrashacefrioyo, or “what I did while it was cold,” added some levity to help warm things up. “I was in your heart, which is the same as this climate,” wrote one spurned lover. “The problem isn’t the cold,” tweeted another in the picture. “It’s getting out of the shower.” A few kept the focus on burning President Morales —“I stayed warm with the words of Jimmy Morales, which keep me steaming mad!”