23 Dec

#DebateEnRedes: Like on the streets, Twitter was the stage for the disapproval

Por Mariela García

Updated 23 de January, 2020 at 10:58 am

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

  • The hashtags that stood out were #ElAguaDeMendozaNoSeNegocia (“The water in Mendoza will not be negotiated”) and #La7722NoSeToca (“Nobody touches the 7722”), which users used to show their dissatisfaction with the changes approved by the provincial Legislature.
  • There were more than 67 thousand tweets in three days about this topic.
  • A message from the Mendoza government received the most replies, but all the comments were critical regarding the change in legislation.

A march has been happening since yesterday in Mendoza against the modification of Law 7.722, which prohibits the use of toxic substances in mining. The call to action started in San Carlos, a city in Vale de Uco, and arrived today in the morning at the province’s capital after passing through several places and increasing in size. In the capital, the people demand before the Casa de Governo (the governor’s office) that the governor, Rodolfo Suárez (UCR), does not promulgate the changes that he himself promoted and that were voted in the Legislature last Friday.

Despite the protests, which included the blocking of roads in different parts of the province, the legislators approved the modification of the legislation with 29 votes for and 7 against at the Senate and 36 for and 11 against in the deputies vote. The officialism bill had their own votes and the votes from the Peronism in Mendoza.

In detail, the law “makes the use of chemical products such as cyanide and sulfuric acid in mining more flexible” and “only prohibits mercury”, states the provincial parliament on its website. However, the people warn that there is a risk of contaminating the water (see here and here).

Guillermo Carmona, a national deputy of the Mendoza province with his mandate fulfilled and the president of the Justicialist Party in the province, said on Twitter: “Considering the large and growing popular demonstration against the sanction of law 7722 promoted by you, I ask you, governor @rodysuarez, not to promulgate it”.

Tweet: Considering the large and growing popular demonstration against the sanction of law 7722 promoted by you, I ask you, governor @rodysuarez, not to promulgate it #NoALaPromulgacionReforma7722 (“Against the promulgation of the 7722 reform”)

It is important to highlight that all of this happened at a moment when some users on Twitter were also criticizing the national government regarding the discussion of the Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation Law that was happening in the Senate. The bill that the deputies sent to the Senate provided for a reduction in retention on oil and mining.

In this context, Chequeado analyzed the repercussions of the reform in Mendoza on Twitter since Friday, December 20 at 10 a.m. until the same time on Monday, December 23. There were 67,200 tweets during that period, and the maximum number of interactions was registered yesterday at 11 p.m., when up to 240 messages per minute were being published.

Activity on Twitter about the reform of Law 7722 in Mendoza

The data refers to the activity on Twitter between 10 a.m. on Friday, December 20, and Monday, December 23 at the same time. The numbers show the amount of Tweets in Argentina every thirty minutes.
Source: Elaborated by Chequeado based on a keyword search on Trendsmap

The two hashtags used the most were #ElAguaDeMendozaNoSeNegocia (“The water in Mendoza will not be negotiated”, with 41%) and #La7722NoSeToca (“Nobody touches the 7722”, with 32.1%), and the most repeated words were “mendoza” (50%), “water” (36%), “cyanide” (24%), “people” (22%), “mining” (19%) and “march” (14%).

Like what happened regarding the debate on Twitter about the Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation Law, a message of a left-wing representative achieved the most tweets. Gabriel Solano, a legislator of the Frente de Izquierda de los Trabajadores / Partido Obrero and former chief of government candidate for Buenos Aires, said on Friday: “That’s how Kirchnerism is: they create a ministry for the environment, but at the same time vote a bill in Mendoza together with the UCR allowing mining with cyanide and sulfuric acid. In the end, it’s a ministry of contamination.” His tweet received 4,722 retweets and 17,297 likes.

The press joined the debate about the reform of Law 7722. In the radio program Pasaron Cosas (Rádio Con Vos – FM 89.9), they talked last Friday with lawyer Enrique Viale about the Argentine Association of Environmental Lawyers, and the tweet containing the audio of the conversation was the second most mentioned in the period analyzed.

It was followed by a message by the Agência de Notícias Red-Acción (ANRed), which defines itself as a type of “community, alternative and popular press” and shared a video of the mobilization. “The caravan in defense of the water and life in Mendoza continues. The march is passing through Tunuyán, where thousands of people have come together to repudiate the modification of Law 7722, which allows the use of cyanide and other elements in mega-mining”, they said.

A tweet by the Clarín (@clarincom) and another one by the local media vehicle MDZ online (@mdzol) came in first and fourth place among the most influential publications, respectively, thanks to their follower numbers. In second place came a message retweeted by the author Facundo Arana, and in third came the message by Fernando ‘Pino’ Solanas, former senator and recently nominated an ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

On the other hand, the official voice the Mendoza Government posted the most replied message; however, all the comments received were against the modification of the legislation. “The reactivation of mining will bring around $ 349.234 million in resources. We estimate that the activity may generate 71,550 jobs during the construction phase of 6 projects, and another 39,240 during the production phase”, said the official account @MendozaGobierno in a tweet published last Sunday after 6:30 p.m. Although the account is not verified on Twitter, it is linked in the website http://www.mendoza.gov.ar/.

* 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.