Trendy – we read Guatemalan Twitter so you don’t have to

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. 

April was yet another busy month in Guatemala, especially for whoever is managing Jimmy Morales’s twitter account. From getting caught sending out a fake tweet to being universally condemned in the twitter high-court of opinion (yet again), we think Jimmy could use a digital detox. For the rest of you, here’s your monthly round-up of the social media trends that kept us from doing any real work in the month of April. 

The crowd favorite was by far the story of the #poliglota security guard. In early April, a video of Pedro Manuel speaking ten different languages showed up on Facebook, and Mark Zuckerburg’s finely tuned algorithms took care of the rest. Before long, Pedro was in the news all over the world and had landed his dream job greeting tourists in the Guatemalan airport. He’s entirely self-taught and he hopes to soon add five more languages to his repertoire (and you thought your Spanish skills were impressive). 

From there, things get significantly less delightful. 

Most recently, CICIG discovered that a shady cabal of Guatemalan corporations gave money to Jimmy Morales’s 2015 presidential campaign without declaring it. Amidst this mess, Jimmy’s twitter account sent out a strange tweet — in perfect English, accompanied by the hashtag #HappeninginGuatemala — about an illegal raid on the presidential palace carried out by 

CICIG. It was then quickly deleted. Why, Mr President? As @XimeEnriquez asked, “was that tweet meant for a different net center account other than yours?” (more on net centers next month). 

Either way, the hashtag #HappeninginGuatemala went viral. Popular updates included a simple, one-word expletive that we won’t repeat here and a picture of Jimmy Morales showing up for the Belize vote (see editori- al) looking disheveled and hungover. Maybe declaring the ley seca was just a way for Jimmy to hit the bars in peace. With a month like this, the guy probably needed it. 

Jimmy wasn’t the only disgraced President in the news this month. On April 1, Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt died in his home of a heart attack at the age of 91. In 2013, a Guatemalan court convicted Montt of genocide and crimes against humanity, sen- tencing him to 80 years in prison. But unfortunately, the sentence was quickly lifted and he was awaiting a retrial when he died. Many Guatemalans felt that his death was a cowardly escape from the justice he had long deserved. In the words of twitter user @tttkay, “May his victims rest in peace. May he never find it. #SiHuboGenocidio. 

If all that bummed you out, feel free to go back and read the part about the polyglot again. And if anyone’s headed to the airport, give him this magazine. Thanks for reading, Pedro! 

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