‘Arepa, the Taco Is With You’ — The Hashtag of Solidarity From Mexico to Venezuela

Detail of the illustration drawn by the artist known as ‘Azúcar y Sal’. Image widely shared on social media. Taken from her public Facebook profile.

After the controversial referendum of July 30, 2017, called by President Nicolás Maduro to install a constitutional assembly, and four months of continuous protests against the government for the deepening social, economic and political crisis, Venezuelans received a virtual solidarity hug from Mexico. An anonymous group of Mexican teenagers behind the Twitter @BanderitasSquad account created the hashtag #ArepaElTacoEstáContigo (Arepa, The Taco Is With You). Channel NTN24 reported the reason behind the initiative, according to one of the hashtag's creators:

Habíamos escuchado de venezolanos que, probablemente, ellos tendrían su última noche con Internet y este fue un modo de mostrar nuestro apoyo. Le mandamos mucho amor y que sepan que no están solos.

We had heard from Venezuelans that it was probably going to be their last night with Internet, so this was a way of showing our support. We sent lots of love and let them know they are not alone.

This message of encouragement brings together a popular gastronomic icon of each country: the arepa from Venezuela, and the taco from Mexico. With this ingenious turn, hundreds of people sent messages of admiration and good wishes to Venezuelans who are fighting for democracy.

We share here some of the messages of strength and respect for the Venezuelan people:

I am not sending you strength because I know you already have it, but I am sending you my respect and admiration you fighting people

Because not everybody stands up and fights for injustice! All my admiration to the Venezuelans. #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo

To the Venezuelans who put up a fight each day, they are an example that has opened my eyes, to fight for a free country. #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo

There were also those who offered words of comfort:

We should bring all Venezuelans to Mexico and give them lots of tacos to help them cope with so much sadness. #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo

To be honest, I feel like taking Venezuela and covering it with a love blanket and putting it in a safe place.

The confirmation of friendship between the two nations was also evident:

This hashtag is pure love for Venezuelans from the unruly Mexicans #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo

The best we can do is to send good vibes and let them know they are not alone. Keep strong Venezuela. #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo

In the middle of it all, there were some who complained that Mexican Twitter users were more interested in the news from Venezuela than in developments in their own country. Banderitas Squad replied:

We are not hypocrites for not talking about the problems in Mexico, we only wanted to make someone else smile. #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo

There was even a tweet that reported President Maduro to the microblogging platform:

#ArepaElTacoEstaContigo This suits the asshole perfectly.
On the image: ‘Report’, ‘Being abusive or damaging’

The wave of good vibes was welcomed with gratitude by Venezuelans:

Friends in solidarity all over the world! #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo. We're thankful. God bless you.

The struggle for Human Rights has no borders! Thank you to those Mexicans in solidarity with the fight for freedom in Venezuela.

Internationally known Venezuelan chef Sumito Estevez also took part in the conversation:

What a beautiful thing is [the hashtag] #ArepaElTacoEstaContigo that the Mexicans have created. Solidarity from intangible flags. Those of the soul.

The artist known as ‘Azúcar y Sal’ said on her Facebook page:

Pantallazo de la actualización pública de Facebook de Azúcar y Sal

Pantallazo de la actualización pública de Facebook de Azúcar y Sal.

I couldn't help making a little illustration of this beautiful hashtag created by my beloved Mexicans on Twitter <3 Thanks for this gesture and for your support! I love you!

In the image, in Mexican and Venezuelan Spanish respectively: ‘I'm with you, my friend’, ‘Thank you, pal. You're the best.’
In the tweet: Your encouragement and support make all the difference, even if you don't think they do. Thank you so much!

And so, the creators of the hashtag responded with a single tweet:

Venezuelans, you have nothing to thank us for. We wanted to give you a smile and show our support. We love you.

Read more in our special coverage What's Happening in Venezuela?

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