Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba is the 59-year-old Socialist Workers Party candidate running to become the next Prime Minster of Spain. Joe Rubalcaba is a thirtysomething video and TV director living in Echo Park. These two men have nothing in common except their last names. However, thanks to Twitter, a great many people in Spain have the Rubalcabas mixed up, triggering some international confusion and stories in the Spanish media. After the Spanish Rubalcaba recently became the official Socialist party candidate, the Echo Park Rubalcaba – who goes by @Rubalcaba on Twitter – was surprised to see a sharp increase in his Twitter traffic and followers. Many of those new Spanish Twitter fans who thought they were following the Socialist party candidate were equally surprised when the Echo Park Rubalcaba tweeted the following message after a previous night’s partying:
Of all of my internal organs, it’s my liver that I anthropomorphize the most.
The amusing mix up has the Spanish press weighing in with stories headlined “El Otro Rubalcaba” (The Other Rubalcaba) and “El triunfo de (Joe) Rubalcaba” (The victory of (Joe) Rubalcaba). A story from El Mundo said the confusion between the Twitter handles of the Echo Park director and the Spanish politician came to light after a Spanish reporter sent a tweet by mistake to the Echo Park resident. “It was a confusion that has made Joe Rubalcaba a popular character on this side of the web,” the story said.
Back in Echo Park, Joe Rubalcaba has been responding to some of his new found socialist followers, sometimes with the assistance of Google Translate:
My account continues to receive endless amounts of congratulations and wishes of good will as well as requests for my opinions and insights. Young, hip voters have caught on that I am not the real candidate but continue to support ME for the job; vociferously and with zeal. I respond to almost every tweet and have already made some good friends.
If you want to follow the tweets of Alfredo Rubalcaba, search for @conRubalcaba.
Ana Facio Contreras contributed to this story.