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.
The Constitutional Court has continued to be a hot topic both online and offline throughout November. For those that aren’t up to speed on the situation: in October a high court judge named Claudia Escobar Mejia resigned from her position, claiming that the process by which justice officials are selected is rampant with corruption – leading to less than 25% of the judges that are elected actually having the required experience. Instead, she claimed that judges are selected simply on the basis of their connections so that corrupt officials and business leaders can feel safe in knowing that their country’s judges will not prosecute them for any wrongdoings they just might happen to commit.
The allegations caused civil society organisations to call for an annulment of the process and a full investigation, leading to the Constitutional Court temporarily suspending the swearing in of new judges whilst it examined the claims. However, in November (perhaps unsurprisingly) the Constitutional Court announced that it found absolutely nothing wrong with the process and that all is, in fact, just fine and dandy. The new judges were sworn in amongst widespread criticism.
Guatemalans vented their anger at the decision online: “sadness, anger and impotence at all the corruption that exists in the country” wrote Encuenthada; another Tweeter asked “how much is morality and dignity worth? Perhaps we have enough to buy some for each of Guatemala’s magistrates;” whilst Iduvina Hernández lamented that “Guatemala is in mourning. Justice has died at the hands of the corrupt Constitutional Court.” A particular stinging tweet came from David F. who posted that “If every corrupt official in Guatemala was to put a light up their ass, my country would look like Las Vegas.” Stay up to date with the debate with the #CorteDeConstitucionalidadCorrupta hashtag.
In other news, Alfonso Portillo, Guatemala’s ex-president indicted for money laundering in the United States, petitioned the US to finish his jail sentence in Guatemala (where, no doubt, he would have a much more agreeable time). Guatemalans weren’t too happy about the prospect: using #SiPortilloVuelve (if Portillo returns) they speculated that “as if by magic, money would just disappear from the State’s coffers”, that “the jails would become more luxurious that any house in the country” and that “he would start giving lessons to Guatemala’s current politicians on how to evade justice”. Fortunately, the US rejected his request.
With all the news of scandals and corruption, Guatemala’s Tweeters took to giving their proposals on what needs to change in the country. Top trends in November were #YoPropongoPara Guatemala (I propose for Guatemala), #RescatamosAGuatemala (Save Guatemala) and #YaEsTiempo Guatemala (It’s time for Guatemala to…). Some top Tweets included “I propose that all Guatemalan politicians be forced to use public services, then surely they would quickly improve” (Bernon Vasquez); “We need to save Guatemala from the indifference towards the poor” (El Chigui); and that “we all need to stop voting for lying clowns” (Walter Guidel). We’ve included a few images from these hashtags at the top of the page opposite. We particularly liked the one that proposes rescuing Guatemala by using condoms, in order to prevent politicians from being born every 24 hours.