During the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections, we all remember Trump coming up with unique nicknames for different political rivals as you can see in this video here.
Personally, while it wasn’t very “presidential” to do, I found the nicknames funny and enjoyable to hear.
But, as you can read here, some might argue to a degree that Trump represents certain aspects of politics in Latin America.
While that article focuses on many other examples of that including military parades, cult of personality, violence in Congress and more, I believe another thing to bring up is his use of nicknames.
Now, to be fair, I’m not familiar if other politicians in US history have used nicknames for their opponents outside of calling someone “socialist” like you can see here.
But here I am talking about using nicknames instead of just labels.
And, from what I’ve read, apparently the habit isn’t unique to the Americas as I’ve heard of people calling Boris Johnson of the UK “Bojo the Clown” for example.
And while I find the nicknames to be funny, you can see them used down here often as well by either politicians or common people who dislike some politician in mind.
For example, as you can read here, I came across a protest in Mexico City on my 26th birthday over a year ago in which the protesters had issues with the current Mexican President, AMLO.
Now, as you can see here, they took liberty in changing his name a bit from AMLO to MALO.
For those who don’t speak a lick of Spanish, MALO means bad.
Still, there are other examples that can come up with.
As I’m not an expert on nicknames in every single country in Latin America, most of the examples we will look at will be just stuff I read online that supposedly exists (outside of Mexico which I’m more familiar with obviously).
Anyway, let’s get to it.
The Mexican Nicknames
Before we look at other Latin countries, let’s stick to what I’m most familiar with.
When I arrived to Mexico in 2017, I began my time here relatively close to when AMLO began his presidency.
Since then, I’ve heard it all when it comes to the nicknames they give him at protests.
From what I’ve heard, he’s been called “El Peje” and “Cabecita de Algodón” as you can see here.
"Luego de que se difundiera el video donde accidentalmente el presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, da un golpe accidental en la mejilla al mandatario de El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, éste bromeó sobre el hecho.
“Eso me pasa por decirle 'cabecita de algodón'”, comentó Bukele en un tuit."
A funnier example would be his nickname “El Cacas” due to this funny little incident he had in this video here.
When it comes to Mexican presidents before AMLO though, I know that Nieto was called “EPN” sometimes and Felipe Calderon was sometimes called “FECAL.”
Anyway, let’s move beyond Mexico and see what other countries have called their presidents.
Nicknames in Other Latin American Countries
For the current President in Chile, you have the nickname Piraña for a guy whose name is Sebastian Piñera.
From what I can tell, he apparently is also called “Piñera Culiao” as you can see here.
Apparently he’s also been called “El Pizzas” as you can see here.
"Sebastián Piñera ha sido criticado fuertemente en redes sociales luego que se viralizara una imagen de él celebrando a su nieto, en un restaurante de comida italiana"
Then you have the Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez. He has been called nicknames like Porki, Malvado Dr Tocino, etc. Hell, as you can see here, even the Venezuelan President Maduro has called him “Porki.”
Of course, Maduro of Venezuela probably can’t say much though given he has his own nicknames. From what I found out, he’s supposedly been called “El Micro Mandante.” For those who don’t know, micro is supposed to mean monkey and mandante means someone who commands.
The reason for this nickname, from what I can find online, is because it’s just a wordplay on what his supporters call him (mi comandante.”
For those who need something funny, he also has something out called “Super Bigote” where he is portrayed as a superhero.
His arch enemy?
Well, I haven’t looked into it but I imagine his arch enemy will be “Tio Sam” or something like that. Who knows.
Still, you’ve had nicknames that were less positive like “El Intergalactico” because his supporters called him the leader of the universe.
For something more insulting, he’s also been called “Toripollo” which means chicken-bull. The idea being that Maduro is big but has a mind of a chicken.
Finally, a common nickname for Maduro that I have heard personally is “burro” like donkey.
Among all of the other insults out there directed as his weight.
Beyond beyond Venezuela now, you have the Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, you’ve had people call him “El Capitan Beto,” Alverso, Albertitere.
For the previous Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, she’s been called K-Chorra, La Yegua, La Kretina, etc.
Next, we have the Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. For him, he’s been given the nickname “Rattatei.”
For Cuba, we have the current President, Diaz-Canal, who has been called “Singao” as you can see here.
In regards to Our Great Leader, Fidel, he has been called “El Fifo” or “El Mancha” as you can see here.
For Peru, you’ve had the Peruvian President Pedro Castillo being called “El Tarado del Sombrero” as you can see here.
And, as you can see here, he’s been called “Sombrero Luminoso.”
At any rate, I could go all day but I’m tired of writing about this. Let’s wrap this up.
Anything to Add?
For one, obviously some countries are better at nicknames than others.
Based on what I’ve seen, it seems like Venezuelans are a little more “crude” with their nicknames by just labelling the dude “fatass this” or “fatass that” but sometimes doing wordplays on what the supporters say.
Other countries, like Chile or Paraguay from what I saw, don’t seem overly impressive or imaginative with their nicknames.
I personally liked Mexico’s the best or Peru’s with the “Sombrero Luminoso” one.
But I probably like Mexico’s more because I actually get what they are referring to (or the Sombrero Luminoso one as probably a reference to the Shining Path).
For other countries, like Cuba or Guatemala, I genuinely didn’t understand how the nickname was trying to hit at.
And that’s probably because I don’t live in those countries and nicknames are often tied to something specific that you’d need context for to understand.
Like “Sleepy Joe” or whatever.
Also, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Latin Americans like their nicknames for politicians given that, as I wrote here, they got plenty of nicknames they use for common people.
Like calling some “gordo” or “negro” or whatever.
If you got any nicknames that I missed that people use for politicians down here or really anyone famous, drop the examples below in the comment section.
As I said, this isn’t really just a “Trump” thing necessarily as you’ve had folks call politicians in other countries nicknames also.
Perhaps you could argue though that Trump did it a lot more often and, for a politician to do it, that’s a little more informal and less expected than a common person doing it.
Regardless, I always enjoyed his nicknames but I get the claim that it isn’t “very presidential.”
Either way, I do think it represents, to a degree, how certain habits or trends seen in Latin America are becoming “a little more common” in the US.
Or at least they have in the last decade or so and it’s not all just on Trump either.
Another example would be the increasing trend of millennials staying with their parents into later years than their parents.
But that’s another topic for another day if we were to dissect that topic of things in Latin America seemingly becoming more common back home.
So, as always, drop any comments below.
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Thanks for reading.