As Colombia´s election race is heating up, some leading public personalities abandon social media amid threats and harassment from political fanatics and extremists.
One of the country’s most famous political cartoonists, Julio Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Matador,” announced on Tuesday that he would stop publishing his cartoons on social media.
The death threats followed an attempt by a supporter of Duque and Uribe to ban a cartoon in which Duque was depicted as a pig.
The situation escalated when an alleged Uribe supporter sent a tweet to Matador lamenting the absence of late paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño “to shut him up.”
“If they want to come for me, I do not have bodyguards or anything … I have a pencil and my brain, and the people who follow me, a big hug,” he said in potentially his last Tweet.
Amigos, ante las amenazas de muerte de algunos seguidores del uribismo y del @CeDemocratico, he decidido no volver a publicar nada en mis redes sociales. Si quieren venir por mí, no tengo escoltas ni nada…tengo un lápiz y mi cerebro.
A la gente que me sigue, un abrazote.
— matador (@matadoreltiempo) April 3, 2018
Fans tried to convince the cartoonist to continue publish his work, but “I have children,” he said.
Accordion player Emiliano Zuleta also opted to close his Twitter account after his brother Poncho entered a heated discussion with socialist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro and received grief after that.
Zuleta was reportedly bullied on social media following the public spat involving his brother who claimed that voting for Petro would be “crazy.”
“I’m going to cancel my Twitter account, just so my followers know,” wrote Zuleta in his last tweet before his profile was dis-activated.
With presidential elections coming up in May, the polarized nature of the Colombian political landscape is showing its head already with the public bitterly divided between the staunchly conservative Duque and Petro, a social democrat.