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

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Latino Twitter Gifted The World With These Seriously Good Inauguration Memes

Things That Matter

Latino Twitter Gifted The World With These Seriously Good Inauguration Memes

Google/NBC

It’s official: the United States has a new president! Yesterday was Inauguration Day in the U.S. and we welcomed Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President.

It was an historic day full of major milestones for the country and the world – and that was made obvious by the sheer amount of attention paid to the day’s events. One has to look no further than the amount of memes that were produced in the wake of the inauguration, from Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga to Bernie Sanders and the adiós to Donald and Melania Trump.

As usual, Latino Twitter showed up with the memes and left many of us on the floor laughing our a** off. These are some of the honorable mentions from a day full of historical moments and incredible memes.

Tío Bernie may have stolen the spotlight from President Biden with his very practical inauguration attire.

The long-serving Vermont senator was there to watch proceedings, bracing the D.C. cold to witness Biden being sworn in as president. To withstand the cold climes, Sanders came prepared in a big old reliable coat and mittens – with his inaugural look and general demeanour waiting for the event to begin capturing the creativity of the internet through a series of ‘Cold Bernie’ memes.

Bernie was everywhere!

The former presidential candidate was popping up in all sorts of places as the Internet memed him into a frenzy.

And he was all of us…

The former aspiring presidential candidate later addressed the attention his outfit was getting in an interview with Gayle King, noting: ‘You know in Vermont we know something about the cold and are not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm and that’s what I did today.’

The Internet has even created a website where you can insert Tío Bernie into any scene you want with Google Maps.

And yes, it actually works!

Michelle Obama told us all how she felt without telling us all how she felt.

When Michelle and Barack Obama departed the White House in 2017 to make way for Donald and Melania Trump to take over the reigns, Michelle did not hide how difficult and upsetting she found the moment. So a lot of people were thrilled to see the Michelle we know and love, happy, thrilled and generally paving the way at the 2021 inauguration ceremony.

Lady Gaga giving the world Hunger Games vibes…

Lady Gaga had the honour of performing the American national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and, of course, she ‘killed’ it. The dramatic and rousing performance was made even better by her custom-made Schiaparelli gown, adorned in the US colours and complete with patriotic hidden meanings. However some thought they’d seen it – particularly the brooch – before…

Then there were the adiós Trump memes that left Mexican Twitter on fire!

A la verga! Adiós, Señor Trump! 👋

This one is too good!

I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Mexican Facebook was also on fire!

This Twitter user is too right, Mexican Facebook really is undefeated!

And some want to reclaim red hats!

If you could bring back red hats, what would yours say?

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This Hilarious Viral Video is Being Called the Latino Version of ‘Get Out’

comedy

This Hilarious Viral Video is Being Called the Latino Version of ‘Get Out’

Screenshot via xgabsterz/Twitter

We’ve all experienced it before–the nervousness of meeting your partner’s parents. And if you’re in an interracial relationship, that nervousness grows exponentially.

That’s why this video of a young Latino man who is hesitant about entering his white girlfriend’s Trump-supporting family’s house has gone viral.

It’s #relatable.

The video starts off with the unnamed boyfriend narrating what’s happening to him as his girlfriend practically drags him into her parent’s home.

In Spanish, he says “I’m going to visit my girlfriend’s parent’s house. The house is very beautiful and she wants me to go inside. But I’m not going to do that because there’s a problem.”

At this point, he pans up to focus on a “Trump” sign prominently displayed on the front lawn.

He turns the camera around to show his own very worried face. The young man’s girlfriend tries to assure him that everything is okay, promising him that her parents are “going to like you”.

The young man tells her to go on without him because he “doesn’t want to die” today. “Maybe tomorrow, yes. But today–no,” he says.

His girlfriend keeps insisting he follow her in until he finally says: “They don’t like me!” before zooming in on the “Trump/Pence” sign one final time. The comedic timing is *chef’s kiss* impeccable.

The video is captioned “This Spanish remake of ‘Get Out’–a witty nod to the 2017 horror film.

As a refresher, “Get Out” centers on a young Black man in an interracial relationship who visits his white girlfriend’s family for the weekend. Soon, he realizes the family is not quite as idyllic as they’re pretending to be. Before long, he realizes his life is in danger.

The movie accurately depicted the real-life horror of racism and white supremacy through a cinematic lens. Phrases like “the sunken place” (the place the main character went when he’s paralyzed by his girlfriend’s mother) became cultural shorthand for: the “place an oppressed person goes when they have become silent or compliant to their own oppression” (thanks Urban Dictionary).

Internet commentators chimed in with their own thoughts and opinions about the super relatable video.

One Reddit user knew exactly how the young man felt. “As a biracial person who dated a girl from a very conservative Republican family, they never let me forget that I was biracial,” he said. “They brought it up almost every day.”

Another knew the struggles of having family members with different views from their own: “I have friends and family members that have been radicalized.. it’s very difficult to have a conversation about anything anymore that doesn’t end with vitriol.”

Another Reddit user had more sympathy for the man’s girlfriend. “I feel bad for the girl honestly,” they said. “We may be able to choose who we befriend, but we can never choose our parents.”

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