How the World Reacted to El Chapo’s Arrest

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Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera is one of the most notorious and successful drug traffickers in the world today. As the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman oversees an organization with a reported $3 billion in yearly revenue. Following two previous arrests and escapes from Mexican federal prisons, El Chapo most recently escaped in July of 2015. This event drew the attention of people worldwide. El Chapo was re-arrested by Mexican officials on January 8, 2016 [1].
On this day, the Twitter conversations surrounding #ElChapo were most prominent in Mexico (36.7%), followed by the United States (34.2%), and then Venezuela (6.3%). As countries with high Spanish-speaking and Latino communities, the prevalence of discussion is in Spanish.

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The line graph shows a spike in activity on January 8th, 2016, the day of El Chapo’s arrest. The spike in activity is dramatic after a seemingly dead period, which correlates with the time that has passed since his escape in July. The activity starts to diminish after the week of his capture, as the news lost its relevancy.

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As evident by the BuzzGraph and the WordCloud, the words “capture” in both English and Spanish are the most related words to #ElChapo on social media. This #ElChapo hashtag became popular right after his capture, which further exposes that most of the buzz pertained to updates of the news story.

We also saw Sean Penn’s name reappear throughout the two graphs, due to his interview with El Chapo for Rolling Stone right before the arrest.

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As evident by the most retweeted tweet… considering El Chapo’s history, many are skeptical that the drug trafficker will remain behind bars for long. Whether Twitter users were discussing the breaking events or El Chapo’s future plans, #ElChapo was a widely discussed aspect of conversation.

[1] CBS News. “El Chapo” re-arrested in Mexico. 1-8-16. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mexican-president-el-chapo-re-arrested/

By: Jess Dunne, Kathryn Robinson and Marisa Rodriguez

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