Humor and schadenfreude were most prevalent
When supporters of United States’ President Donald Trump invaded the United States Capitol on January 6, Latin Americans took to Twitter with their reactions. And humor was the most prevalent.
Journalist Jordana Timerman wrote in her daily newsletter that “Schadenfreude is possibly the dominant emotion for many Latin American countries, accustomed to receiving blanket U.S. statements of concern over national political upheaval.” Schadenfreude is “the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.”
Other commentators created memes showcasing the bitter irony of the U.S., which has historically backed coups in the Latin American region, experiencing a possible attempt at what has been described by some as a self-coup at the hands of Trump.
At a rally on January 6, Trump enlisted his supporters to join the campaign he has waged since the November 2020 election outcome was confirmed, seeking to overturn the election result and block the—mostly ceremonial—certification of the Electoral College results. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent mob, leaving five dead. The president now risks impeachment.
Here are ten social media posts that typify the reactions of Latin Americans online.
Whenever there’s a political crisis in Latin America, such as when Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales fled the country in November 2019 amidst political turmoil, commentators would often share hypotheses of how the United States might have been involved in the change of regime:
Cuando entras a Twitter y ves que E.U. está desestabilizando al mismo gobierno de E.U. y no a un país de Latinoamerica.#Capitolio#Trump #Biden pic.twitter.com/0MkDHfy0J8
— Leo (@The_Singer8) January 7, 2021
When you go on Twitter and see that the U.S. is destabilizing the U.S. government itself and not a Latin American country. #Capitol #Trump #Biden
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden swiftly reacted to the raid by calling the rioters “domestic terrorists,” and trotted out a refrain commonly voiced at times like this—”This is not who we are”:
Joe Biden: Lo que está pasando en el capitolio no nos representa como Estados Unidos, esto no es quienes somos .
— juanfer ☾ (@juanfervn) January 6, 2021
Joe Biden: What’s going on at the Capitol doesn’t represent us as America, that’s not who we are .
Given Latin America’s turbulent relationship with U.S. foreign policy, one emotion many Latin Americans weren’t feeling for their northern neighbor was pity:
Noticias: “Golpe de estado en USA, disturbios en el Capitolio, Piden destitución de presidente, Conspiracionistas dementes se acusan a ellos mismos de ser infiltrados, día negro para la democracia”.
— Samuel (@SamorMartinez) January 7, 2021
News: “Coup d’état in the US, riots on Capitol Hill, Calls for impeachment of president, Crazy conspirators accuse themselves of being infiltrators, black day for democracy”.
Political scientist John Polga-Hecimovich shared a “database” of regimes that have experienced self-coups, which now includes the United States:
My updated autogolpe attempt database (1992-2021) pic.twitter.com/SKrVJjLroR
— John Polga-Hecimovich (@jpolga) January 6, 2021
Haitian artist and photojournalist Fortune Edris “subtweeted” the United States by referring to a classic American symbol—the eagle—and a spiritual principle with origins in Asia:
Il faut que l’oiseau bec fer sache que le karma existe.
Posted by Fortune Edris on Friday, January 8, 2021
The bird with the iron beak needs to know that karma exists.
Salvadoran feminist activist Virginia engaged in some gleeful Schadenfreude:
Amigas, de qué nos sirven dos siglos de intervención política gringa si no es para cagarnos de la risa en estos momentos.
— Virginia (@huishte) January 6, 2021
Girlfriends, what good are two centuries of gringo political intervention if not to make us laugh our pants off right now?
Central American Twitter pitched in with a long-standing joke:
“Why haven’t there been attempted coups in Washington DC?
Because there’s no U.S. Embassy there.”
They’ll have to rethink this old joke.
— aléxandros! (@bodega_gyro_ao) January 6, 2021
Some played on the idea that some countries—such as Venezuela, which had experienced its own “self-inflicted coup” around the country’s elections in March 2017—had been de-sensitized to events of this kind:
American: how are you so unfazed watching today’s news?
— Joanna Hausmann Jatar (@Joannahausmann) January 7, 2021
Brazilian university professor Lola Aronovich warned of one figure who might be closely watching the events in the U.S. for all the wrong reasons—Brazilian President Bolsonaro:
Estados Unidos é especialista em dar golpe de estado em outros países. Quando um laranjão mimado e seus supremacistas arianos tentam fazer isso no próprio país não é tão bonito. Detalhe: Bolso está anotando tudo pra 2022.
— Lola Aronovich (@lolaescreva) January 6, 2021
The United States is an expert at coup d’états in other countries. When a spoiled orange and his Aryan supremacists try to do it in their own country, it’s not so pretty. Detail: Bolsonaro is taking notes of everything for 2022.
Columnist Leví Kaique Ferreira took aim at U.S. foreign policy and its interventions to free countries from undemocratic regimes:
Se os Estados Unidos vissem o que os Estados Unidos estão fazendo nos Estados Unidos, os Estados Unidos invadiriam os Estados Unidos para libertar os Estados Unidos da tirania dos Estados Unidos https://t.co/T1fGLgc33p
— Leví Kaique Ferreira (@LeviKaique) January 6, 2021
If the United States saw what the United States is doing in the United States, the United States would invade the United States to free the United States from the tyranny of the United States