EspañolA viral online message calling for violent unrest on Monday, April 27, has put Guatemalans on edge after thousands streamed into the streets on Saturday to demand the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti over a corruption scandal.
Government spokesman Jorge Ortega said that the message, disseminated via mobile messaging service WhatsApp, was based on an email “whose origin can be tracked abroad.” He explained that the message was originally used during protests in Mexico or Venezuela, “but does not match the situation in Guatemala.”
“We announce that on Monday, April 27, Guatemala will be paralyzed nationwide. For your safety, do not send your children to school. We have to take out the trash, so the homeland can flourish. We have to clean out the house and finish with the rats,” reads the message, which calls on Guatemalans to build barricades in the street against police.
Pedro Cruz, a political activist with Youth for Guatemala, was among many who expressed contempt for the anonymous communication. “Messages like this one … cause confusion amid the people and encourage anonymous acts of vandalism,” he said.
Published alongside the hashtags #PlanB and #RevolucionYa (Revolution Now), the mysterious call to arms has divided opinion. While some feared that its authors could be calling for a coup d’état, others argued that the government was behind the message with the intention of spreading fear.
— RenunciaYA (@RenunciaYa) April 24, 2015
“Guatemala: #PlanB and #RevolucionYa is a trick. It’s a call for sedition and only the government benefits by this. Peace above all!”
“The time and the day has arrived. Chaos reigns and here we are to offer every drop of blood for our homeland,” reads another passage of the message.
Guatemalan prosecutors reported that investigations into the origins of the message were ongoing.