11 Nov

#DebateEnRedes: 38% of the tweets in Argentina about Bolivia included the word “coup”

Por Ariel Riera, Celeste Gómez Wagner and Mariela García

Updated 27 de December, 2019 at 11:41 am

If you only have a few seconds, read these lines:

  • The messages posted by the former Bolivian president Alberto Fernández were by far the most shared, mentioned and replied.
  • #BoliviaUnida, the hashtag promoted by the opposed Luis Fernando Camacho, was used in only 11,144 of the more than 2 million tweets registered between October 20 and November 11.
  • There were two main communities on Twitter, one around Morales’ account and the other around the account of the journalist Nacho Montes de Oca.

On October 20, the elections happened in Bolivia and the current president, Evo Morales (Movement for Socialism – MAS), who needed more than 10 points to avoid a second round, was elected with 10.57 points ahead of his opponent, according to official data. On that day, the transmission of the official results was interrupted when the difference was smaller, and the Organization of American States (OAS) expressed “concern and surprise due to the drastic change that is difficult to justify” in the results. Morales agreed to audit the elections and called for new elections yesterday due to the irregularities pointed out by the OAS. However, he announced his resignation due to pressure from the Military.

In order to observe the impact this caused on Argentina, Chequeado analyzed, via Trendsmap, the interactions on Twitter registered in the country from 8 a.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2019, until Monday, November 11, 2019, at the same time.

In total, 2,228,900 publications related to the political situation in Bolivia were shared on Twitter. The visibility of the case came with the coup d’etat, since more than 405 of the publications happened starting from November 10 at 6 p.m., minutes after the press conference in which Morales announced his resignation from the presidency. A total of 3,400 messages per minute were published in that period. In the 24 hours after the elections, on the other hand, less than 25,000 tweets were published.

Amount of tweets related to the current political situation in Bolivia

Source: Elaborated by Chequeado based on the number of tweets related to the current events in Bolivia, from 8 a.m. on October 20, 2019 to 8 a.m. on November 11, 2019. The Trendsmap data is organized in 3-hour periods.

In the conversation, 48% of the tweets included the word “Bolivia”, 30% “moral”; 22% “coup”; 19% “state”; and 13% “people”. Meanwhile, the top 5 hashtags were “#Bolivia”, “#EvoNoEstasSolo” (Evo, you are not alone), “#GolpeDeEstadoEnBolivia” (coup d’etat in Bolivia), “#EvoPresidenteLegitimo” (Evo legitimate president) and “#urgente” (urgent). The hashtag “#BoliviaUnida” (Bolivia united), promoted by Camacho in his account, was only used in 0.4% of the tweets. If we observe only the publications after the announcement of Morales’ resignation, 38% talked about the “coup”.

The interactions about the situation in Bolivia on the Argentinian Twitter were mostly divided into two distinct communities. On on side, there were those who interacted with Evo Morales’ official account (@evoespueblo), with the account of the Argentinian president-elect, Alberto Fernández (@alferdez), and with the account of the political scientist Juan Manuel Karg (@jmkarg). In another space in the network, on the contrary, the interactions were centered on the journalist and writer Nacho Montes de Oca (@nachomdeo), followed by the officialism focused account @elcoya1977 and the account of the president of the LIBRE Foundation, Agustín Laje (@AgustinLaje).

Source: Elaborated by Chequeado based on the tweets about the current events in Bolivia, from 8 a.m. on October 20, 2019 to 8 a.m. on November 11, 2019.

The focus of the debate was on whether to support Evo and about the characterization of the facts. The same happened in the public discussion. Alberto Fernández expressed his solidarity for Evo and denounced a “coup”. On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Argentina issued a press announcement asking to “preserve social peace and dialogue” around what it considered a “transition period that was started through the institutional channels established by that country’s Constitution”.

Yesterday at 10:29 p.m., Morales published a message in which he explained about the arrest warrant against him, which had been announced by a police officer. He also mentioned that “violent groups” invaded his house. “The people behind the coup are destroying the Rule of Law”, he emphasized. His tweet achieved 79,066 retweets and was bookmarked 137,832 times, becoming the most shared tweet about the topic in Argentina.

I denounce to the world and to the Bolivian people that a police officer has publicly announced that he has been instructed to carry out an illegal arrest warrant against me; in addition, violent groups have invaded my home. The people behind the coup are destroying the Rule of Law.

— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo), November 11, 2019

In second place came Alberto Fernández’s rejection of the “coup d’etat resulting from the joint acts of violent civilians, self-quartered police officers and the inertia of the Military”. The message of the president-elect was publised at 8:05 p.m. yesterday and obtained 22,237 retweets and 51,507 likes.

In the other community, Montes de Oca followed the events in Bolivia on Twitter during the whole day, with thousands of interactions in many of his tweets. He mentioned, for instance, that the military command had ordered the “airspace closure”, according to “rumors”, due to “risks of escape, foreign aircraft and outflows”, obtaining around 2 thousand retweets and 4 thousand likes.

* The Digital Democracy Room is a project of FGV DAPP in Brazil in partnership with Chequeado, Linterna Verde and Ojo Público. It’s goal is to monitor and analyze the digital conversations regarding the electoral context.

The analysis is available the website of Chequeado here.

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