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Puerto Rico: Social Media's ‘No’ Campaign Wins Big in Referendum

Even with lack of economic resources and an advertising infrastructure, the “NO” option prevailed in the referendum that took place in Puerto Rico last August 19th to amend the country's Constitution. The proposed amendments [es] limited the right to bail and the amount of legislators.

Social media played a huge role throughout the campaign process in favor and against the proposed amendments. However, those who advocated for the NO (against the amendments) took more advantage of the power of social networks because they didn't have the means to get the same presence in traditional media than those who favored the “YES” option (that was backed by an official political party, the pro-statehood PNP-New Progressive Party). The advocates of the “NO” couldn't do a TV campaign in favor of the NO because they were forced to have the same rules and requirements that any citizen group needs to obey when it wants to become a political party, making the process of getting an approval for the NO advocates a lot more difficult.

Nonetheless, as the following videos and images show, initiative and creativity flourished as it took over social networks as the ideal tool to spread the message of what the Constitution amendments meant (videos are in Spanish):

This poster explains why women favored the “No” option.

On Twitter, users celebrated the fact that with tools like social media, which are available for everyone who has Internet connection, you can call people to action similarly, or even more effectively, than with traditional campaigns that costs millions and are run by political parties:

@irizarryangel: De ahora en adelante hay que contar con La gente de las redes sociales. Son una gran comunidad y pueden hacer la diferencia en elecciones

@irizarryangel: From now on we have to count on the people on social networks. They are a great community and can make a difference in the elections

@RositaMarrero: No y no ganó con todo y la d falta de recursos económicos y la poca publicidad.

@RositaMarrero: No and no won even with lack of economic resources and little advertising.

@CarloRubenRosar: Tanto estuvieron 140 caracteres dando a la conciencia del pueblo que hoy resquebraron la maquinaria levantada con dinero. Triunfa el NO!!!

@CarloRubenRosar: 140 characters focused so hard on raising awareness among people that today they broke the machinery put together by money. The NO won!!!

The victory of  NO, a victory that also belongs to citizen media against the political parties’ millionaire machinery, has been compared to the story of David and Goliath, as an example, here's a cartoon by the cartoonist Kike Estrada:

“Goliath” by Kike Estrada. Used with his authorization. “Did you hear that noise?. The Earth shook!; What happened is that David has beaten Goliath.”

And of course, celebrations were present on Twitter:

@larod98: Me voy a dormir con una sonrisa en la cara. Gracias Puerto Rico por no entregar tus derechos! #NOyNO

@larod98: I am going to sleep with a smile on my face. Thank you Puerto Rico for not surrendering your rights! #NoyNO

@solojoe: En las olimpiadas ganamos la plata y el bronce… pero HOY el pueblo puertorriqueño se ganó la de oro con el #NoyNO . Felicidades!!!!!

@solojoe: At the Olympics we won silver and bronze… but TODAY the people of Puerto Rico won the gold with the #NoyNO. Congratulations!!!!!

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