Peru candidates’ social network sites feature dancing, singing, slogans

By Gonzalo Dominguez Loeda

Lima, Sep 27 (EFE).- Dancing, singing and slogans (even in Japanese). You can find it all on the social network sites of Peruvian candidates for the local and regional elections next Sunday as they try to attract the attention of voters with vociferous campaigns and exhibitions designed to generate support, although most of the time the result seems to be the creation of an undisguised feeling of embarrassment.

In reality, all this erupted in 2021 during the tight presidential election campaign where Pedro Castillo came out on top, every vote counted and the candidates pulled out all the stops.

The effort they put in was monumental, with many of those seeking the presidency putting on their best face for their cellphone cameras dancing to the rhythms of popular songs.

Despite the initial skepticism, the strategy made a 180-degree turn as candidates sought the youth vote and, after the expected period of trial and error, the candidates for the local and regional posts in next Sunday’s balloting have been buckling down and following the trail blazed in the past.

The social networks have emerged as key communications tools in this country, where according to an Ipsos survey poll, some 13.8 million urban residents – and 80 percent of Peruvians live in the cities – regularly tune in to the social networks. Whatsapp is the most popular network, followed by Facebook and TikTok, and that explains why the candidates are using the latter to post all sorts of short videos seeking to attract attention.

Anything goes in the campaign. Sylvester Stallone, in his role as boxer Rocky Balboa and the hard rock beat of “Gonna Fly Now” are being seen and heard everywhere ad nauseum.

This time it’s Juan Navarro, who is running for mayor in the Lima district of San Juan de Lurigancho, who’s donned sports clothing for his swings through the district looking for votes.

Accompanied by his neighbors and supporters, Navarro plunges through the streets of San Juan de Lurigancho, where he previously served as mayor from 2015 to 2018, as “Navarocky” in a video that is burning up the social networks with his own particular distinctive style.

But copycats have not waited long to emerge, with Lima mayoral candidate George Forsyth, a former pro-soccer player, turning out a video showing him exercising in a gym before going to the latest political debate among capital candidates.

Sweaty candidates and epic background music, it seems, are what people most want to see on the social networks and, especially, on TikTok. Or at least that’s what the political strategists crafting the candidates’ campaigns think.

One of the favorites in the Lima mayoral race, ultraconservative Rafael Lopez Aliaga, has taken this apparent fact to heart. Popularly known as “Porky” due to his pink complexion and easy-going manner, he started taking advantage of the siren call of the social networks in 2021 when he was running for president and he’s pulled out that same playbook again this year.

Making fun of himself, he has posted videos on the social networks saying – as Porky Pig did – “That’s all, folks!” or holding a stuffed animal in the shape of a pig before his face and, behind it, he’s smiling.

Apparently, he’s achieving what he wants: Hammering into the memories of social network users an image that they identify with rotundity and making them smile.

Forsyth, with the center-right Somos Peru, opened up the road that many candidates are now following. He’s directing his campaign, among others, to the “otakus” in Peru – that is, people with consuming interests, particularly in anime, manga, video games or computers, often to the detriment of their social skills.

He is asking them for their votes in social media posts featuring manga cartoon drawings and he’s telling them to mark their vote beside the little “kokoro” (heart, the symbol of his party) on their ballots to fight against the so-called “Akatsuki.”

That organization, which embodies the villagers in the Naruto anime tales, has been what the current favored Lima mayoral candidate, Daniel Urresti, has been using as his campaign symbol, having made the fight for public safety in the capital the key element in his electoral platform.

But, the videos posted by Urresti, a former soldier investigated for corruption by a journalist – although he was initially found not guilty – have sparked much discussion because of the violence they depict.

Often the videos showing thieves end up with attacks and beatings delivered to the actors who play them by a character dressed in the colors of Podemos, Urresti’s rightist party.

And the popular Navaro hasn’t wanted to be left behind. Climbing up a series of stairs in a depressed zone of San Juan de Lurigancho, he has tried to emulate the “Knights of the Zodiac,” a manga and television series.

Related Articles

Back to top button