After the Arab Spring, Comes a Boricua Winter

Super Xclusivo and WAPA, the channel on which the show appears, did not respond to requests for comment, but La Comay denied charges on Wednesday night's episode, arguing that their show did not make any anti-gay insinuations in their coverage of the murder. La Comay maintained that other news outlets, namely El Nuevo Dia, had recently reported on Calle Padial as a street where prostitution is common place, and that the Super Xclusivo was simply repeating this message.

Nonetheless, the Facebook group has already successfully pressured a number of the show's sponsors to cut funding, including Dish, Palo Viejo, Borden, Walmart, and most recently, AT&T.

"Walmart is committed to improving the quality of life of the people of Puerto Rico. Following the controversy surrounding the Super Xclusivo program we have made the decision to cancel advertising on that program," read a note posted in Spanish on the Puerto Rico Walmart Facebook page.

But even before Gómez's death, several grassroots campaigns against crime and violence in Puerto Rico had begun to sprout up on social media. The arts initiative Kilo365 aims to collect a pair of shoes for every person killed in 2011, paint them gold, and place them all over the island as a visual representation of the toll violence has taken.

"We're all victims of the violence, not just the person that's murdered," said Kazandra Santana, one of Kilo365's creators. "What we're losing is our gold -- our people, their souls."

Santana, 34, has involved hundreds around the island in their education and awareness project. Some of the shoes belong to victims of the bloodshed, and other shoes have been painted by people who are responsible for the killing. The gold shoes will be part of a travelling exhibit to be displayed in various parts of Puerto Rico and New York City.

"We don't have a company backing us or anything like that," Santana said. "Social media is literally the only way this project has grown."

Other groups that have found a voice on social media include Cucubano Urbano, which aims to improve safety and a sense of community in San Juan neighborhoods by holding night walks with members dressed in white and carrying light sources. And Queremos Vivir, which translates to, We Want To Live, is a 900-person group created by the high school classmates of yet another teen who was recently killed.

Even the Puerto Rican government recently turned to Twitter for a new project called Follow2Unfollow, in which the Department of Corrections arranged three prisoners to tweet about their experiences every day so that other young Puerto Ricans won't "follow" their footsteps into a life of crime.

Ruiz truly believes that the recent excitement on social networks will translate into a real-life movement for change.

"What we're talking about is a way of thinking and about thoughts, and the best way to communicate thoughts and ideas is through social media," he said. "Social media helps bring injustice out to the front."

UPDATE: AT&T reportedly pulled its advertising to the SuperXclusivo program late Friday afternoon after pressure from the Boicot La Comay movement.

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