Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bolivia: The Evo Strikes Back in Viral Video

In Latin American countries, the themes of political campaign ads may vary between the inventive, the edgy and the downright silly. But what type of ads is most effective? It’s a question that comes to mind after watching a recently released spot from Bolivia that has become a viral video.

“Bolivian Wars: El Despertar del Sí” (“Bolivian Wars: The Awakening of Yes”) was done for the campaign in favor of constitution reforms allowing President Evo Morales to run again in 2019. The video shows scenes from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and superimposes Morales’ face on several characters representing the Resistance such as Finn. The Dark Side is depicted by faces of former leaders prior to Morales getting into power in 1998 like ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada as the villainous Emperor. In order to hammer the good versus evil point home, the video shows real life images of deep unrest and violence during the “gas wars” of 2003. The video ends mentioning that its “premier” will be on February 21st, which is the date of the constitutional referendum next year.

Published seven days following the world premiere of the latest “Star Wars” entry, the official video on the Sí Bolivia Facebook account has received at least 139,000 views and has been shared over 3000 times.

So far the producers of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” have yet to publicly seek the removal of the Sí Bolivia video. But Communications Minister Marianela Paco was admonished last week by Bolivia’s Tribunal Supremo Electoral for publishing a photo of a Sí Bolivia rally on the ministry’s official Twitter account. Opposition legislator Arturo Murillo also denounced transmitting the rally live on a public TV channel. Yet Bolivian electoral authorities also criticized the governor of La Paz province, Félix Patzi, for using his government twitter account to promote the anti-Morales campaign.

Morales has been no stranger this year to attention grabbing videos when a commercial by a Chilean cell phone carrier alluded to him and poked fun at the Bolivian government’s claims of access to the sea. The landlocked country’s Foreign Ministry blasted the ad and a minor diplomatic scrap briefly occurred before cooler heads prevailed.

YouTube Sources – Agencia EFE and contacto boliviano 

Online Sources (English) – Adland, GlobalPost, The New York Times, teleSUR English

Online Sources (Spanish) – La Tercera, La Razón, Sí Bolivia Facebook account

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