[ View the story "Can social media tackle Puerto Rico's crime wave?" on Storify] Can social media tackle Puerto Rico's crime wave? An online movement campaigns for peace after José Enrique Gómez's murder.
Storified by The Stream · Tue, Dec 11 2012 10:30:36
Reports say publicist José Enrique Gómez was kidnapped by four people, robbed of at least $400, doused with gasoline and then burned alive. The incident is part of a larger trend of violent crime in Puerto Rico. In 2011 alone, there were more than 1,100 killings, mostly in drug-related incidents.
A picture of the victim, José Enrique Gómez:
In response, Puerto Ricans have taken to the Internet to condemn the violence in the US territory. Netizens and celebrities alike took pictures of themselves holding signs that read, "
Todos Somos José Enrique
" or "We are all José Enrique".
Ricky Martín se une a la iniciativa Todos Somos José Enrique #TodosSomosJoseEnrique #igerspr #puertorico #pazigerspr
The Stream covered online activity around the hashtag last week:
'We are all Jose Enrique'Photo from Instagram user @vilmi_guadalupe [ View the story "'We are all Jose Enrique'" on Storify] Using #TodosSomosJoseEnrique, online ...
Standing with ALL who support #TodosSomosJoséEnrique We want a better #PuertoRicoWanda M Wilkerson
Todos Somos Uno. All Is One. Entender esto, para mi lo resume todo... En el momento en que podamos tener autentica empatia por las circunstancias y el dolor ajeno, todo se convierte tan claro... #todossomosuno #todossomospuertorico #todossomosjoseenrique #allisone #unabrazoparapuertoricoLaboyM
#unabrazoparapuertorico #todossomosjoseenrique #puertorico #instagood #instapicCarlos Javieer'
The Puerto Rican community is taking it to another level: using social media to call for an end of violence #TodosSomosJoseEnrique #BastaYaCarla M.Berrios Cruz
Puerto Ricans are also using online networks to call for change in how their media covers issues of violence. The territory's most popular television programme, SuperXclusivo, became the target of
a boycott campaign
after its host, a puppet, suggested that Gómez was partially responsible for his own death because he was in a neighbourhood frequented by male and female prostitutes. Netizens promoted the boycott using the hashtags #
Online activists succeeded in getting major sponsors, including AT&T and Wal-Mart, to withdraw their advertising from SuperXclusivo. It was reported that the channel
$1.3 million dollars per week.
A picture of the puppet, La Comay:
#bochinche #laComay @reblffleur #lolkreach3r_
La Comay can be funny, but there is NO need to offend others. #TodosSomosJoseEnrique #WeAreJoseEnrique #RIP #WAPAAmericaCarol Alfonso
La Comay está asesinando a #JoseEnrique otra vez. #BoicotALaComay #BoicotComay #TodosSomosJoseEnriqueEdwin Vázquez
:"TheAbuse! I want a Puerto Rico free of abuse and insensitivity!"
Se acabo el abuso! Yo quiero un Puerto Rico libre de abuso e insensibilidad! #TodosSomosJoséEnrique #boicotlacomayJose A Iturbe Mojena
said: "I congratulate those who took action to channel the anger they feel for this heinous crime."
Felicito a los que tomaron acción para canalizar la indignación que siente todo el pueblo por este crimen horrendo... #TodosSomosJoseEnriqueLuis V. Gutierrez
Blogger Julio Ricardo Varela (
) explains why the boycott of La Comay is necessary:
after the character of La Comay (a puppet, people, it's a puppet!) just crossed the line one last time with incredibly inappropriate and uncorroborated opinions (yes, opinions, and not facts) about the brutal, inhumane death of publicist José Enrique Gómez. Those opinions were unethically portrayed within the context of "journalism." It was classic Comay. And she was finally caught. People had had enough with all that was going on in Puerto Rico, and La Comay became the symbol of all that anger and desire for true change in Puerto Rico.#BoicotLaComay Is Not Censorship: How Social Media Is Transforming Traditional Media
On Twitter, Puerto Rican singer and actor Ricky Martin came out in support of the boycott campaign. "Remember to change the channel. No to censorship, yes to boycott," he said.
#PUERTORICO Recuerda cambiar el canal. No a la censura y si al boicot.Ricky Martin
Puerto Rico serves as an entry point for drugs into the mainland United States, and many of the murders on the island are related to
. Other contributing factors to the high homicide rate are unemployment (
16.9 percent in 2011
) and gang violence. The map below shows the
of all the 2012 murders in Puerto Rico:
The anti-violence movement has also spread to Puerto Ricans living in the mainland United States:
Puerto Ricans Call for Peace Back HomePuerto Rican activists and dozens of protesters held a vigil on Saturday, Dec. 8 in Sheridan Square to demand a halt to violence and deat...
serve in the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD). Some rights groups like the
American Civil Liberties Union
accuse of the police of excessive police brutality, corruption and being in league with the island's drug traffickers.
released earlier this year details the abuses and argues that much needs to be done to improve policing on the island. From the report:
SMUGGLING+ CORRUPT POLICE+ LOCAL MAFIAS= lots of people making bank with Puerto Rico's crazy violence #TodosSomosJoseEnrique #BoicotLaComayLiza Sabater
POLICíA DE PUERTO RICO is in the pocket of local mafias & used by FBI/DHS to test police-state tactics #TodosSomosJoseEnrique #BoicotLaComayLiza Sabater
#TodosSomosJoseEnrique even though I'm not there anymore I send many blessings to my beautiful island Puerto Rico so let's make a change❤❤Angelique
I want a World of /peace. where respect is given, life-appreciated & music & laughter are louder than pain and tears #todossomosjoseenriqueMarjorie Zoe Negron
said: "How many more deathswill it take to realize that there are too many. We must respect life"
Cuantas muertes mas seran necesarias para darnos cuenta de que ya son demasiadas. Vamos respetar la vida #PazPR #TodosSomosJoseEnriqueLuis Otero
said: "For mine, yours, Puerto Rico's and the world's. No more violence"
@yamarislatorre Por los mios, los tuyos, los de Puerto Rico y el Mundo #TodosSomosJoséEnrique No mas violencia #LosBuenosSomosMas #PAZYonahira Lebron