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Frivolizing Bukele's 'Alcatraz': Luisito Comunica's new controversy

2024-02-21T05:02:23.579Z

Highlights: Luisito Comunica is one of the most famous YouTubers in Mexico. He has more than 42 million followers on the video platform. The most recent controversy arose as a result of his visit to El Salvador and the tour he took through the Terrorism Confinement Center (CECOT) The prison is a maximum security prison for 40,000 prisoners, built as part of the security policies of the president. country, Nayib Bukele, to stop violence, insecurity and crime.


Specialists question the lack of ethics and transparency in the content that the Mexican 'youtuber' and other 'influencers' create to bring topics with a delicate background to more audiences.


The followers of Luis Villar Sudek, better known as Luisito Comunica, have traveled with him around the world, knowing in detail each destination and each of his adventures, the different traditions and peculiarities of each place, as well as sharing his adventures and misadventures.

Since 2012, when he launched his own YouTube channel, he has been growing in popularity, to the point of becoming for four years in a row, from 2020 to 2023, the absolute leader of the

most famous

YouTubers in Mexico.

At the time of writing this text, he has more than 42 million followers on the video platform.

However, throughout his career as a content creator he has not been without controversy.

The most recent has arisen as a result of his visit to El Salvador and the tour he took through the Terrorism Confinement Center (CECOT), a maximum security prison for 40,000 prisoners, built as part of the security policies of the president of that country. country, Nayib Bukele, to stop violence, insecurity and crime.

Luisito Comunica was in the eye of the storm due to criticism from different users on the networks who have considered his tour of the penitentiary as propaganda for the Central American president and, above all, for dehumanizing the prisoners in jail.

In the video, Luisito Comunica tours the prison almost unrestrictedly, giving details of its operation, life inside and who are those who are imprisoned.

“Seeing all these images it is easy to be moved and touch your heart.

Say 'Wow!

What harsh mistreatment inside the prison,' but when you find out about the human atrocities they have committed, it all makes sense,” he states in one segment.

The rain of criticism of the

influencer

arises from some sectors for how he assumes that all inmates are guilty, despite the fact that almost in the last year, since the prison began operating on February 24, 2023, complaints of arbitrary detentions have arisen. and lack of due process in some cases.

Like that of Roberto Alonso, diabetic and with stress problems, who died of hunger at CECOT.

He had no record or evidence against him.

They gave him the first hearing for 2025. He couldn't stand it.

Now, his partner, Verónica Reyes, asks for justice.

Inmates in the Terrorism Confinement Center (CECOT) in the municipality of Tecoluca, El Salvador, on February 6, 2024. Gladys Serrano

“It seems incorrect and to a certain extent dangerous to me that figures with so much influence, with so many audiences, do not question politically and socially the things they say.

We live in a time in which it suddenly seems that the number of followers turns you into a kind of bearer of truth, of authority.

These people [

influencers

] rely on freedom of expression and that is why 'we can say anything', says Fernando Bustos, philosopher and cultural critic.

Julio Juárez Gámiz, professor at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Sciences and Humanities of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (CEIICH-UNAM), classifies the material that content creators like Luisito Comunica produce as “peripheral journalism,” which is built from the codes and the narrative of traditional journalism, but which obeys a business model that does not adhere to the deontological criteria of the profession, but rather replicates formats to generate content that is attractive to different audiences.

"They are at the service of whoever hires them to position themes, angles, frames that favor their sponsors, although - that is where the most delicate part arises - one does not know that certain content comes from a commercial agreement that, many times, is "is done behind the audience's back and that users do not perceive as the result of a commercial negotiation, but rather as the exercise of freedom of expression," says Juárez, who also specializes in political communication.

Luisito Comunica's visit to CECOT took place within the framework of the elections that were held in El Salvador a couple of weeks ago, in which Bukele, ignoring the Constitution of his country - which did not allow him to repeat his term - He achieved re-election with more than 80% support, according to what he announced.

Apart from content creators, the Salvadoran president also allowed entry to international media outlets, such as EL PAÍS or the BBC, but without the access or privileges that the Mexican and other

influencers

such as the Spanish Rubén Díez, known as Lethal Crysis, They obtained for their channels, such as shots of the armory, of snipers who are in charge of monitoring the prisoners or showing what the darkness to which they subject the prisoners in the isolation area is like, to name a few.

But this fact is not isolated.

Bukele, an

expert

in advertising and political

marketing

, knew how to sell himself as an “anti-system” figure, far from “old politics” and the traditional media, which he has discredited for the perception he has of them as “corrupt actors.” , always close to power and responsible for the elites that have governed, impoverished and plundered many societies and democracies,” explains Juárez.

For this same reason he has put

YouTubers

like Luisito Comunica as spokespersons, who do not confront him;

or to characters like Tucker Carlson, the controversial American journalist with an ultra-conservative tendency, because they agree with his policies.

Nayib Bukele and Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele, at the National Palace of El Salvador, on February 4, 2024. Gladys Serrano

“Bukele is a smart guy and I think he knows, like many people today, that what an

influencer

can say in front of a journalist has more weight.

He's worth damn if they're taking articles from me, if all I can do is invite Luisito Comunica and with that I kill or shut up everything else,” Bustos develops.

That this type of

influencers

give free rein to this type of speech, according to Juárez's reading, allows "the decision of a ruler to be legitimized", giving rise to content that borders more on "dramatization" and "spectacularization."

“They are doing exactly the same report [Lusito Comunica and Lethal Crysis].

Many of the images you see are the same, these visual

props

, aerial shots of the prison that the Government of El Salvador itself provides.

If you follow the video, it's the same narrative: 'we arrive at the prison, we see the prisoners, it seems sad, but there are people who deserve it.'

"It should put into perspective what kind of journalism this is and what kind of interests this

infotainment

is serving , which says I'm going to scare you, I'm going to show you these evil people who actually deserve these punishments," says the researcher from the CEIICH-UNAM.

Luisito Comunica, who had previously interviewed Bukele with YouTuber

Juan Bertheau in 2021

, has not been immune to controversy and questions about the content he produces.

That same year, it did not sit well when the

influencer

announced that he was buying an apartment, at a bargain price and facing the sea, in Venezuela, while the country was mired in a deep political and economic crisis.

He was also questioned in 2019 for a video, in which his then-girlfriend Cinthya Velázquez participated, in which he made “a joke” about committing sexual abuse at her expense: “The bottom line is that my purpose is to make you really bad for a while.” abuse of you".

That same year he was questioned about his visit to Nicaragua, in a video titled

The country that they advised me NEVER to visit

, due to the situation that the Central American nation is experiencing regarding the violation of human rights that has been on the rise since the protests against the Ortega regime. in 2018. Last year he was also criticized and defended in the same way for his praise of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), a project that the Government of Mexico and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have tried to give relevance.

Bustos says that there is suspicion about how much content is paid for and how much arises due to the sense of smell and sensitivity that these types of celebrities have to detect topics that can exploit and generate conversation.

“We only pay attention to what is presented to us in an entertaining way and of course there is great danger.

Just because something can be entertaining does not mean that the information is true,” adds the philosopher.

'Luisito Comunica' during his visit to Nicaragua, in April 2019. Canal Luisito Comunica

Juárez is convinced that there is a communication strategy to position an issue and that these spokespersons are used to put on the agenda the issues that power is interested in.

“It would be very naive not to establish a relationship between one and the other [

influencers

and the power in power] when what has been shown is that there is an incidence and also a closeness,” complements the UNAM researcher.

“Thank you Luisito for helping Nayib Bukele to give visibility to the truth of the Salvadoran people.

We need many Bukeles in this world,” reads one of the comments on the video.

There is a reputation and credibility involved, reflects Bustos, despite the fact that there are many journalistic articles, very well written, but - he questions - how many people read them?

The cultural critic considers that we live in times in which content creators have many fans and many people see them as a compass of success and a reflection to achieve something in life.

“It is very important to recognize this freedom of expression and recognize platforms as an effective communication channel.

And that, I think, should be welcomed from the outset.

But the emphasis and accent must be maintained on the professional rigor with which this type of content is generated.

Traditional journalism has often been criticized as passive, because now the figure of this 'militant journalism' is used, which says here you have to take sides.

And it is time to tell 'the truth', which generally accompanies the party or government in power.

And that is very dangerous in a society that is actually eager to consume this type of stories and narratives of good and bad, of polarization, of all or nothing,” concludes Juárez.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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