28 Nov

#DebateEnRedes: The tweet in which Iván Duque mourns the death of the young man hit by a police gunshot had the most replies in Argentina

Por Celeste Gómez Wagner and Mariela García

Updated 30 de December, 2019 at 12:38 pm

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

  • On November 21, a cacerolazo happened in Colombia, generating several interactions on Twitter.
  • Alcira Argumedo and Agustín Laje, with notably different opinions, were the two most retweeted Argentinian accounts
  • RT en Español, teleSURtv and C5N were the communication vehicle accounts with the most interactions in the country.

Last Thursday, November 21, a national strike was organized in Colombia with demonstrations and cacerolazos against the labor and social security reforms that the Iván Duque administration wants to implement. The protests multiplied over the five following days and are still happening. With that, Colombia joins the political and social conflicts that have been happening in other South American countries, such as Bolivia and Chile.

Until Friday, November 22, the government in Colombia had reported three deaths. However, police repression in the last Saturday in Bogotá by the mobile riot squad (Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios, ESMAD) led to the assassination of Dilan Cruz, an 18-year-old man who was hit on the head with a tear gas grenade and died on Tuesday due to the severity of his wounds.

Chequeado studied the activity on Twitter in Argentina regarding this topic from November 21 at midnight until Wednesday, November 27, at 2 p.m. During that period, 53,800 messages were published in the country and the peak of interactions happened on Thursday from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m. when, in different Colombian cities, citizens demonstrated against Duque with the country’s “first cacerolazo”, which was organized from the social networks.

According to the Colombian website Linterna Verde, “the idea of organizing a protest at home started in Cali as a way to oppose the curfew announcement” and “was propagated on Twitter, quickly spreading to platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook”. The note adds that social networks “played a key role” both in calling the national strike and in the “cacerolazo” after the first day of the protest.

Activity on Twitter in Argentina about the protests in Colombia

The data refers to the activity on Twitter between midnight on November 21, 2019 and 2 p.m. on November 27, 2019. The numbers show the amount of Tweets in Argentina every hour.
Source: Elaborated by Chequeado from a keyword search on Trendsmap.

As in other cases observed by us, the discussion in Argentina showed a polarization of opinions between different groups. This was evident in the two most retweeted messages.

The first one was posted by Alcira Argumedo (@alciraargumedo), former national deputy for the Proyecto Sur and researched at the Conicet (the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research), who in November 26 mourned the death of the 18-year-old man due to repression. She shared a video of the moment when Cruz was hit by the ESMAD grenade and, among other things, stated that it was “very serious that Latin American Armed Forces shoot to kill young people and the population because of demonstrations”.

The second message with the most RT was posted by Agustín Laje (@agustinlaje), the president of Fundación Libre. On November 22, he published a video with an attack made by demonstrators against a police officer and said: “This is the political destabilization to which the ignorant masses contribute and are used as puppets. Like in Chile. But be careful, in Colombia, the good people know how to defend themselves and have the means to do it”.

The data comes from Trendsmap, which tracks the most popular messages considering not only the amount of times they were shared, but also other variables such as the number of followers of the account publishing them.

A tweet by Diego Ciafardini (@eltanomdp86), who defines himself as a “ricotero [a fan of the Argentinian band Redonditos de Ricota] and Kirchner supporter” in his profile and has 14,482 followers, climbed to third place. On November 22, he shared a photo of a police officer “of the fascist Duque” who “shoots an unarmed person at a distance of less than one meter”.

A message by RT en Español (@ActualidadRT) – “the first Russian television channel in Spanish with a global reach”, as defined in their account – came in fourth place in the ranking of the most shared messages. The account published a video of a soldier who apparently committed suicide, they say, after having been “pressured by his superiors to face a trial as a ‘dissociative leftist extremist’” for supporting the national strike in Colombia (see also here and here).

Almost 5,500 messages included the hashtag #21NSomosTodos (“We are all November 21”), which characterized the first day of protest in Colombia, followed by #ParoNacional (“National strike”, with 9.8%), #Colômbia (8.8%), #ElParoSigue (“The strike goes on”, with 6.5%), #23NParoNacional (November 23, national strike”, with 6.5%). In addition, #ColombiaDespierta (“Colombia awakens”, a format related to the protests in Chile) was present in 5.8% of the tweets. The hashtag #DilanNoMurioADilanLoMataron (“Dilan didn’t die, Dilan was killed”), which became a trending topic in Argentina on November 26 in the afternoon, came in seventh place with 4.4% of the messages

The three words repeated the most in the messages on Twitter were “colombia” (35%), “duque” (17%) and “strike” (16%). The term “Esmad” (the Colombian riot police that shot Cruz) was used in 9% of the tweets.

In turn, the three most replied messages were posted by the official account of the Colombian president. The first one was the tweet in which he mourned Dilan’s death. The second one, posted on November 23, announced the start of the investigation of the young man’s wounds. The third one was a tweet made on November 22 in which he communicated the implementation of the curfew in Bogotá.

Tweet: We deeply mourn the death of young Dilan Cruz. We express our sincere condolences to his mother, his grandfather and his sisters. I reiterate my solidarity towards this family.

The fourth message with the most replies was posted by journalist Claudia Gurisatti (@CGurisattiNTN24), who mentioned Duque in her message and said: “Look at the Chilean experience: the more Piñera gave in, the more they burned down the country. Vandals and inflammatory politicians want to blackmail you, not to end injustice, but to obtain power, even though they have lost the elections. Others engage in politicking.”

Lastly, the most active accounts – that is, those with the most mentions, replies and retweets in Argentina about the protests – were the already mentioned RT en Español and Diego Ciafardini, followed by TeleSURtv (@telesurtv, an information channel for Latin America located in Caracas) and by the news channel C5N (@C5N).

* 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.