Twitter Convo About Hugo Chávez Gets Ugly Between @williecolon and @Calle13oficial

They have over 7 million followers combined on Twitter, so when there is an exchange between @Calle13oficial (4.7+ million followers) and @williecolon (2.2+ million followers), it will get attention.

It all started on January 16 when Colón, the legendary salsa trumpeter and performer, tweeted the following:

The tweet was making reference to the situation in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chávez is reportedly recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba. Chávez has not been seen in public since early December, leading to speculation that he is already dead, and that his supporters in Venezuela are trying to hide that. It is clear from Colón’s tweets and the subsequent replies that he is not a Chávez supporter, and that he is mocking Chávez’s illness (calling him a “podrido,” a “rotten one”). The initial tweet got the attention of Residente Calle 13 (René Pérez Joglar), who tweeted the following:

The tweet translates as follows: “One thing is to defend a political ideal, but it’s another thing to mock a cancer patient. Colón’s comments were violently insensitive.” Pérez Joglar then followed up with a tweet that compared Colón’s initial tweet to the time when U.S. Marines were caught on tape urinating on dead Taliban (NOTE: Pérez Joglar has since deleted the tweet, but here is the original text of the tweet):

Colón then tweeted back to Pérez Joglar, saying that it was not his intent to mock Chávez’s health. He also had a question from a poor old man (him), if Pérez Joglar knew if Commander Chávez were still alive?

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Pérez Joglar didn’t respond to Colón directly, but he then mocked Colón’s artistic accomplishments, basically suggesting that Cólon was just a second banana to Rubén Blades (and that Colón is just another “Chameleon”):

Earlier this morning Colón tweeted that Pérez Joglar and Calle 13 are Chávez supporters, as well as supporters of Colombia’s FARC. Colón also called Residente Calle 13 “garbage:”

A few minutes after that tweet, Colón RT’d the following tweet from someone else, suggesting that Chávez supporters were gay as well:

Some things should not be shared on Twitter. Ugly public debates do nothing to the dialogue, and Colón’s initial tweet was done in poor taste. Pérez Joglar is right: mocking someone’s health is pretty classless, and when you are a public figure such as Colón, you would think he would know better. Residente Calle 13’s initial response was spot on, although it now has gotten a bit overboard, since these two artists are now turning this into a childish personal attack on each other.

We get it, Willie, you don’t like Chávez, but making fun of his cancer? RT-ing homophobic tweets from others? That was uncalled for, and by the way, your constant tweets about how “right” you are really don’t make you look any more classier. At this stage, just apologize via Twitter instead of sounding like a right-wing Latin American reactionary. For someone who believes in love and harmony, your behavior on Twitter the last few years have brought you down a notch or two, in our opinion. As for Residente Calle 13, we do agree that Colón’s “podrido” tweet was awful, but that should be the debate here, and not a personal attack on Colón. But hey, we get it: if someone doesn’t like you, we understand why you would want to tweet back.

In the end, this type of behavior does nothing to advance a real conversation. Here’s hoping Colón takes a chance to truly LISTEN to what Calle 13 represents. The following message is one we should ALL support:

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