Carlos Vives, Sebastian Yatra & More Strike Measured Tone On Twitter During Contentious Colombian Elections

Ruven Afanador
Carlos Vives

As Colombians voted in the first round of a contentious presidential election, artists remained either silent or neutral on social media before and after conservative candidate Ivan Duque emerged as the clear winner and frontrunner with nearly 40% of the vote. And while many key acts strongly associated with Colombia urged fans to vote, few actually named the candidates they were supporting online. 

“I have a commitment with my country,” said Carlos Vives on a video posted on Twitter that’s been viewed nearly 24,000 times where he asked fans to go out and cast their votes in Sunday’s election. While Colombian elections have long had huge percentages of absenteeism, this year, more than 50% of qualified voters cast their vote, a record for the past several decades and an indicator of how important these elections are. 

Manuel Medrano, the 2016 Latin Grammy Best New Artist winner, limited himself to sending good vibes to the candidates.

The general tone of the posts was easy to understand. Supporters of frontrunner Duque and leftist candidate Gustavo Petro, who will face off June 17, were often virulent on social media. Sebastian Yatra’s neutral post  -- “Today I voted for A Colombia FREE of socialism […]] DEMOCRATIC, SAFE and ENTERPRISING” -- hinted at a Duque vote, and elicited strong reactions from both sides. But it was also liked 4,200 times and retweeted close to 800 times, indicating which way the vote went.

Earlier, superstar Maluma had posted a video inviting Colombians to vote in the elections. Although he didn't name a candidate, multiple posts indicated his vote was for Duque, and the post was later deleted. And former beauty queen Paulina Vega shuttered her Twitter account after being virulently criticized for openly supporting Duque.

An attempt at reason was struck by vallenato star Peter Manjarrez. “I usually don’t use my social media for politics, but I congratulate Sergio Fajardo, who lost with dignity,” he said, alluding to the centrist candidate who lost to Petro by just a couple hundred thousand votes. “You have to know how to win or lose. And it’s not necessary to speak ill of others to win the race.”

Hopefully those words will define the tone of the election in weeks to come.