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.
This month President Perez Molina, gave his third annual report #TercerInformedeGobierno, which is the equivalent of the State of the Union speech in the US. During one of the government´s worst financial periods, with hospitals running low on medicine and food, police cars out of gas, and hundreds of public employees having not received a paycheck in months, the opposition and social media were to not waste no time criticizing and mocking him each step of the way.
As soon as TV began to report, people online began to question the use of his political party´s colours in the decoration and imagery used. This government has been using orange, representative of the ruling political party, in many public events throughout these three years. An hour went by before the speech finally started. Even this former army general is not excluded from the #HoraChapina. Right at the beginning the repetitive use of this phrase “Even though there is still so much to do, Guatemala is moving forward in…” resonated in the ears of Guatemalans, well accustomed to political hyperbole. This phrase was then followed by demagogic examples of how security, the economy and the general well-being of Guatemalans has moved forward. One of the shocking examples was how #PlanHambreCero has reduced malnourishment in children by 1.6 percent. A whopping 1.6 percent after investing over 5 billion quetzals every year for three years, there is no way we cannot consider that a major accomplishment, we were told.
Perez Molina also mentioned the work being done in reducing violence and murder rates and creating a general sense of security for the people of Guatemala. This affirmation was rejected online by people protesting and satirically pointing out that anyone with a dozen security guards, like the president, surely would feel safe. He also mentioned the economy and how Guatemala is on its way to becoming an emerging economy in the region. Again people protested and claimed that the only ones benefiting from his economic policies are mining companies and his friends in the Guatemalan 1%. Another thing that caught notice by many was how he completely left out any mention of both the national health system and education. Probably because of the high levels of corruption in national hospitals that have led to a shortage of basic supplies like food and medicine. Also the school system, which reported a decrease in children attending schools in 2014, and a deterioration of the school system’s infrastructure, was conveniently left out.
Something worth mentioning is how quickly this popular hashtag dropped way down the list of trending hashtags; making you wonder if lack of interest derives from a disconnected government or if corrupt governments are a consequence of a silent society focused more on football, Ricardo Arjona, Miss Universe, Austin Mahone & Zayn Malik (just a few of more popular trends).
On a less serious note, the infamous #Fijateque also became a popular trend in January. If you haven’t heard someone start their sentence with fijate que, it’s because you have not been paying attention. It literally translates as “ so you see” or “well you see.” This expression is usually used right at the start of an excuse of some sort. “Why were you late?” “Fijate que…I got a flat tire and then my car broke down.” People online shared their favorite #Fijateque frases: #Fijateque…I don’t love you anymore. #Fijateque… your car is not ready, come back Monday. #Fijateque I crashed your car. #Fijateque…I didn´t do my homework because the lights went out. #Fijateque another corrupt government got elected because I was too busy paying more attention to One Direction.