Guatemala: Twitterevolution, "YouTube Sedition," and Deepening Political Crisis

A quick recap of updates this morning on the political crisis in Guatemala follows. Previous posts linked at the bottom.

* Yesterday, Guatemalan I.T. worker and Twitter user Jean Anleu (shown above / photo: Surizar) was raided by police, arrested, charged with inciting "financial panic," fined US $6500 (more than the average Guatemalan makes in a year), and sentenced to detention to be followed by house arrest. Supporters created a blog with information about his case, and are continuing what some describe as a "Twitterevolution" in Guatemala, using the hashtag #escandalogt and raising money by PayPal for his release. Anleu's case is the first of its kind in Central American history.

* One of Jean Anleu's Twitter (and real-life) geek friends, "Manolo," says,

Fundraising from abroad to secure his release is being received in my personal PayPal account ( For people in Guatemala we have an accout of a Jean's relative G&T Bank, account # 39-4478-4 (Jhenny Gonzalez). We are going out to the courthouse in Guatemala City right now, since the family got a loan from Jean's employers for the rest of the required amount, so, we are planning to release him within hours. I'll keep Boing Boing updated on this. More here.

UPDATE, May 15, 12pm PT: Manolo emails us:

The good news is that @jeanfer is about to be free. He and his family now have to pay back the money, but he'll be released in a few hours. He was able to post a tweet from my PC before leaving for the detention center, where he has to do some paperwork and wait till tonight to be released.

Below, @jeanfer's "freedom tweet," sent about an hour ago from @manolo's computer.

* Guatemalan photojournalist James Rodriguez has published a photo-essay documenting protests in Guatemala calling for president Álvaro Colom to resign in the wake of accusations he ordered the assastination of Rodrigo Rosenberg.

Those accusations came in the form of a posthumoustly-released YouTube video recorded by the whistleblower attorney before his murder on Mother's Day. Protests continue today in Guatemala City over Rosenberg's murder, and the fact that, as one Guatemalan Twitter user wrote, "Some guy on Twitter is in jail for one 96-character tweet, while assassins roam free." A large protest is planned for Sunday in the capital, with some participants planning to wear white, tape their mouths shut, and carry placards reading "I DON'T TALK, I TWITTER / WE ARE ALL @JEANFER."

* Street vendors are selling bootleg DVDs of Rosenberg's "death message" video (screengrab at left) which has spread virally on YouTube. One of these street vendors, José Encarnación Leiva Marroquín, was arrested by the Guatemalan police. For the act of distributing bootlegged YouTube videos, this man, who also works as a "chicken bus" driver's assistant, has been charged with "inciting sedition, revolution, or overthrow of the state.." Here's a PDF link. Update: Word on Twitter is that he has since been released, and charges dropped by the judge.