February 19, 2021

Ten social media posts that capture Latin American reactions to the storming of the US Capitol

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Humor and schadenfreude were most prevalent

Screenshot of post from Twitter using the popular SpongeBob meme.

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.

1.

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:

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

2.

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: What’s going on at the Capitol doesn’t represent us as America, that’s not who we are 😭😡.

Latin America:

3.

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:

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”.

Latin America:

4.

Political scientist John Polga-Hecimovich shared a “database” of regimes that have experienced self-coups, which now includes the United States:

5.

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.

6.

Salvadoran feminist activist Virginia engaged in some gleeful Schadenfreude:

Girlfriends, what good are two centuries of gringo political intervention if not to make us laugh our pants off right now?

7.

Central American Twitter pitched in with a long-standing joke:

8.

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:

9.

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:

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.

10.

Columnist Leví Kaique Ferreira took aim at U.S. foreign policy and its interventions to free countries from undemocratic regimes:

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

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