How 9 strangers used Facebook to launch Guatemala’s biggest protest movement in 50 years

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GUATEMALA CITY — A civic rebellion that started with a frustrated Facebook post is now threatening to oust Guatemala’s strongman president, retired special forces commander Otto Pérez Molina.

Gabriel Wer, a 33-year-old business administrator with no history of social activism, said he finally reached his tipping point two months ago when he read the newspaper headlines decrying a corrupt cabal of government officials who were bilking the state out of untold millions through a massive customs bunco scheme. The knavish network, dubbed “La Linea” in the Guatemalan press, led directly to the office of the vice president, according to the findings of International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.

Exasperated by the government’s repeated, shameless, and brazen malfeasance, Wer pecked a grumbly message on his Facebook page. He called on Guatemalans to stand up for their democracy and demand the resignation of Vice President Roxana Baldetti, or some words to that effect.

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