Things That Matter

University Student Arrested For Creating Meme Account Calling Out New Government

On the last day of 2019, Bolivian officials arrested a university student for creating a popular meme account that criticized the controversial change of government. Bolivia saw a change from long-beloved indigenous President Evo Morales to the self-declared Conservative Christian Interim President Jeanine Añez Chavez. The arrest of María Alejandra Salinas comes in the wake of rising concern of the stability of the democracy after military personnel violently ransacked President Morales’ home. Morales is currently living in exile in Mexico City, his new asylum home. Now, those who were concerned about the new right-wing government are troubled to learn of Salinas’s arrest in what they perceive as a violation of free speech. Salinas, herself, was worried before she was even arrested. She deactivated her account just days before her arrest for fear of her own personal safety after receiving numerous death and rape threats.

The new government actions are prompting civilian debate about whether it’s okay for the government to censor and arrest citizens for sharing differing political views.

María Alejandra Salinas ran the meme account Suchel, which reached over 10,000 followers until she shut it down.

CREDIT: GUSTAVO GARECA / FACEBOOK

A graduate student in feminist studies at La Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Salinas decided to join the mass protests after the forced resignation of former Bolivian President Morales. She protested in her own way by creating a digital meme account called Suchel that garnered 10,000 followers since Morales’ exile on Nov. 10. If you’re reading this, you probably already understand the art of the meme. Using humor to give cutting insight into political opinions, #Suchel became emblematic of an Internet subculture of Bolivia’s pro-Morales, pro-Indigenous movement.

The government’s move to arrest Salinas only seems to validate Suchel’s followers’ concerns: that the state is seeking to maintain its power by any means necessary, including violating free speech rights.

Others are celebrating the arrest of Salinas, calling her a “digital warrior” seeking to “destabilize the government of our President Jeanine Añez.”

CREDIT: SUCHEL 2.0 / FACEBOOK

A Facebook group called “¡El 21-F SE RESPETA!” that had reached an equal size to Suchel’s leftist group is celebrating her arrest. The right-ist group seems to also employ the same use of memes to spread their political ideology. Still, members are celebrating Salinas’s arrest, claiming that she “comes from a bourgeois family that enjoys the honey of capitalism and defends socialism.”

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) reported that a bot campaign was employed by far-right government factions to influence public opinion in their favor. The CIDH found that 68,000 fake accounts posted over 1 million tweets during a week-long period before, during, and after the coup. Suchel became one of the few authentic informative accounts that indigenous and liberal Bolivians could rely on. 

“They say that I promote hate, indoctrinate people,” Salinas later wrote in a social media post. “This is just a page that doesn’t even reach 10 percent of the population in Bolivia. I have no power over people,” she added. 

According to Salinas, four men physically assaulted her and threatened to rape her if she didn’t give them her phone password.

CREDIT: @WYATTREED13 / TWITTER

Four men who knew that Salinas was the Suchel administrator ganged up on her and physically held her down in front of two police officers. When she refused to give them her cell phone code, they attempted to rape her. Later, when she confronted the police officers who “did nothing,” they told her “it was my fault because I had not listened to them,” according to a shocking social media post in Spanish (pictured above). Salinas was already the victim of sexual assault and death threats and deserved protection rather than persecution. On Dec. 28, Salinas announced that she would be shutting down the Suchel accounts for fear of her and her family’s safety. “Due to the lack of guarantees, I decided today to close Suchel on Facebook, at least until I am sure that my life and that of my family is not at risk,” Salinas posted to Suchel, according to Pagina SieteThree days later, she was arrested.

In a public statement in Spanish, CIDES demanded that “the corresponding authorities give the unrestricted respect for [Salinas’] rights during the legal process that is being carried out and taking into account the risks that due to the gender condition usually involve in these cases,” according to a local outlet.

Already, Suchel 2.0 accounts have popped up on several social media platforms.

CREDIT: @PAGINA_SIETE / TWITTER

The government’s attempt to control the online narrative of its administration’s rise to power and subsequent human rights violations appears to be unsustainable. While Salinas remains detained by authorities disdainful of her political views, Bolivians continue to raise their voices and seek community on and offline.

READ: An Angry Group Of Anti-Morales Protesters Attacked This Bolivian Mayor Ripping Off Her Clothes And Cutting Her Scalp

This Man Posts A Video Highlighting Mexican ‘Avatar The Last Airbender’ Characters And It’s So Accurate

Entertainment

This Man Posts A Video Highlighting Mexican ‘Avatar The Last Airbender’ Characters And It’s So Accurate

@nacho_libro_ / TikTok

Who here loves “Avatar The Last Airbender”? It is one show that has been around for so long that the fanbase can only grow. The show is a fantasy ride that will take you to some of the most imaginative places. However, one fan realized something no one else did: some of the characters are Mexicans. Here’s what he found.

Roku

Credit: @nacho_libro_ / TikTok

Roku, a.k.a. “El Espiritu,” is one of the Mexicanos rocking it in the Fire Nation. Roku’s memory served as a guiding force for Aang along his long and storied journey. It is like that one compa you have who is always able to help you out of a jam. You never know how he will do it but he always does.

Sokka

Credit: @nacho_libro_ / TikTok

You might know Sokka as the defacto leader of the Water Nation for a time. When he was younger, Sokka wanted to join his father in the war. He tried his best and left with all of the men to join the fight. However, he was too young to fight and was sent back but was the oldest male and became the leader of the tribe. Much like that primo we all have who is the oldest of the primos and teaches us everything. Where would we be without that primo?

Zuko

Credit: @nacho_libro_ / TikTok

Zuko was born into the royal family of the Fire Nation. The prince abdicated his throne and lived in exile. For years, Zuko tried his best to catch the long-lost Avatar to get back into his kingdom. We all know that one friend that is trying to make up for something. At the end of the day, he is a good dude but he just has some things that he has to work out.

“Avatar the Last Airbender” fans are asking for more.

Credit: @nacho_libro_ / TikTok

There are so many more people that can be made into Mexican airbenders. The first three are already a success for the TikTok user with more than 234,000 views. Fans want more and it just seems like the perfect time to create more.

And it wasn’t just the setup.

Credit: @nacho_libro / TikTok

The TikTok user came through with his joke. Not only was the haircut so on point, he included a bunch of easter eggs. One of them was the América jersey that left some viewers screaming. Watch the video here and enjoy.

READ: Netflix Is Bringing Us An Anime Series Based In Fictional Mexico And We Are Here For It

Afro-Latino CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Arrested Live on TV While Reporting In Minneapolis

Things That Matter

Afro-Latino CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Arrested Live on TV While Reporting In Minneapolis

omarcnn / Instagram

Minneapolis has been rocked by civil unrest following the death of George Floyd. A viral video shows a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck while Floyd begged for help. During the unrest, a CNN journalist was arrested on live TV and people were stunned.

Here is the moment that CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested by Minnesota State Police.

The arrest stunned audience members who watched the Minnesota State Police approach Jimenez during a live shot and arrest him. The crew identified themselves as members of the media and said they’d be willing to relocate. Jimenez asked why he was being arrested and the police officers did not provide a reason.

Nearby Jimenez, CNN reporter Josh Campbell was reporting and was not arrested.

The move has sparked outrage as racial tensions in the state are high after George Floyd’s death. Minnesotans are calling for justice after four police officers attempted to arrest Floyd leading to his death. Jimenez’s arrest sparked some anger as people considered the arrest racially motivated during the protests.

“We can move back to where you’d like. We can move back to where you’d like here. We are live on the air at the moment,” Jimenez told the officers. “We’re getting out of your way. So, just let us know. Wherever you’d want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection. Let us know and we’ve got you.”

The governor of Minnesota apologized for Jimenez’s arrest in a press conference on Friday.

In the same press conference, Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, apologized for the arrest of Jimenez and his crew. Gov. Waltz took responsibility for the arrests because they were made by Minnesota State Police. According to Jimenez, after the arrest, the police officers were cordial and that they did not have guidelines for reporters covering the protests. Jimenez says that the officer he spoke with said that he was just following orders.

Twitter users were surprised to see a politician taking responsibility immediately after a situation.

There have been so many instances when politicians do not take accountability for actions that happen within their departments. The police-caused deaths of unarmed Black men, women, and children are usually followed by protests and the exoneration of the police officers involved.

Despite the early morning arrest, Jimenez was back on air to report on the ongoing unrest in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis has been the center of days of civil unrest. People are demanding justice for Floyd and his family. President Trump took time from his feud with Twitter to tweet about the protest using divisive language. His tweet that harkens back to the 1950s saying “when the looting starts the shooting starts” was flagged by Twitter as inciting violence.

Viewers are celebrating Jimenez’s demeanor during the arrest.

The reporter stayed calm and controlled while the police officers arrested him without stating a reason. The arrest was a complete surprise to CNN as the anchors who were speaking with Jimenez went speechless when they realized he was been handcuffed.

The civil unrest continues in Minneapolis as one of the fired police officers was arrested. The protesters and community leaders are calling on the rest of the police officers to be arrested for the death of Floyd.

READ: Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Arrested For Death Of George Floyd