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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 3:28PM   |  Add a comment
Sebastián Piñera campaign poster (2010) (http://www.rnw.nl)

Sebastián Piñera, a conservative billionaire, won Chile's presidential election in a runoff yesterday. It was the first victory for a conservative in more than 50 years. Early returns showed Piñera defeating former president Eduardo Frei, a Christian Democrat, by a 4% margin, according to BBC News.

Piñera's platform included investment incentives, lowering taxes on small businesses, job creation, law-and-order policies, and steamlining government.

World Audit now ranks Chile the 21st most "democratic" country in the world (with 36 considered "fully democratic"), two decades after the military rule of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (1973-1990) ended.

Political parties in Chile use posters more than those in many other countries, since they are allocated limited time on public television and not even allowed to purchase commercial broadcast time.

To learn more about election campaigns and poster propaganda in Chile and other countries in Latin America, see my book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:05AM   |  Add a comment
Social Democratic Radical Party (Chile), Logo

Elections are scheduled this year in five countries in Latin America, namely Chile, Panama, Uruguay, El Salvador, and Honduras. World Audit rates the first three countries as "fully democratic," and the other two as "qualified democracies," meaning that there are some flaws.

In much of Latin America, “street poster art” is an influential political medium, and during election campaigns, posters are omnipresent. This is true even as the influences of television and the Internet have become greater. The standard practice is to maximize the impact of a poster’s message by pasting many copies of the same poster in rows or columns. This repetition attracts attention. During the 2005 Chilean presidential election,  “one [could not] seem to leave the house without being subject to posters lined up on every street,” according to one report. That posters are essential in Latin America is not surprising, considering a recent survey found that almost 80 percent of the region’s campaign managers believed the image of a candidate was the most important factor in a political campaign. Furthermore, 24 percent of these political professionals indicated that street posters were of “exceptional importance” in campaign advertising strategy, a percentage almost as high as for daily newspapers (29 percent) and private television (30 percent).

In 1970, Chile witnessed a momentous election campaign, which culminated in the election of Salvador Allende Gossens, a Socialist, as president. Supporters of Allende were excited and hopeful for change, with other voters fearful of what would happen in the country if he won. Some in Allende’s Socialist Party called for seizing power, if he was not elected. Three years later, Allende was found dead, after a military takeover, the presidential palace bombed beyond repair, and General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was declared the dictatorial leader. It was apparent that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States, under President Richard Nixon, had worked to prevent Allende’s election, and—after he had won—helped to destabilize the regime. The details are supplied in my book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History, along with sections on other nations in the region.

Free elections occurred again in Chile only in 1990. In 2005, Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the candidate of Allende's Socialist Party (which is part of a coalition, Concert of Parties for Democracy or CPD), was elected president of Chile—the first woman to hold the office—winning a runoff election  with 53.5% of the vote.

At the right is the logo of the Social Democratic Radical Party of Chile (another member of the CPD), with the rose as its symbol—like many Socialist Parties around the world, including those in Brazil, Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Serbia, Ukraine, France, and the British Labour Party.

Also at the right is a poster, which targeted feminists, from the 1970 Allende campaign.


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