The government of Guatemala has arrested and imprisoned a man named Jean Anleu Fernández who posted on Twitter yesterday the following message: “The first action people should take is to remove cash from Banrural, and break the banks of corrupt people. #escandalogt”
His Twitter message was in response to the suspected involvement of the Guatemalan president in the recent assassination of a prominent lawyer who was investigating government corruption. What we are seeing here is the new power of words. Their power to take down a government. The outrageous action of Guatemala has created a worldwide eruption of blog and Twitter outrage in which Anleu Fernández’ original message is being reproduced countless times. Boing Boing is doing excellent coverage of this story.
I agree with Mr. Anleu Fernández in his suggestion that people withdraw their money from a bank that people suspect of corruption. I would withdraw my money if I were in Guatemala. I also think the people should probably withdraw themselves from Guatemala if at all possible since it is quite obviously moving toward total collapse. If Guatemala thinks I’m creating panic, then I would suggest that people actually run screaming from the country because panic is exactly what should be happening there. When police start arresting people for telling other people to pull money out of a bank, then it’s all over.