Political campaign advertising in El Salvador
In El Salvador, there are ten days left before the February 28 elections for members of El Salvador's legislature and its mayors.
The nonpartisan group Citizen Action monitors the amount of campaign ad spending by the contending political parties. Its most recent report showed that parties spent more that $5.2 million in advertising during the month of January, primarily on television ads:
Campaign spending totals showed Nuevas Ideas far outspending the other parties in the entire period from November 27, 2020 through January 31, 2021 according to the Monitoring Center of Citizen Action.
Of the $7.1 million spent by the parties during that period, $5.3 million or 75% of all spending, was by Nayib Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party.
In San Salvador – billboards for Nuevas Ideas candidate for mayor Mario Dura proclaim : “Vote for the Nuevas Ideas of Nayib” and others promise the return of "one project per day" – a slogan of Bukele when he was the mayor of San Salvador from 2015-2018.
TheGANA party seems to want voters to be unable to distinguish it from Nuevas Ideas. Bukele won election to the presidency of El Salvador in 2019 on the GANA ticket after Nuevas Ideas was found to have been formed too late to compete. GANA still uses for its logo the golondrina (swallow) without the name GANA, which was the logo under which Bukele won the presidency. An advertisement heard on the radio this week urges voters to "mark the golondrina -- for the party which most supports Nayib."
Parties in office are taking advantage of the public relations benefits from delivering public services. Here Nuevas Ideas enjoys a big advantage with the government run by Nayib Bukele owning a television channel, a newspaper, and having a large social media operation. The government regularly pushes out slick video messages of the latest accomplishment of the government whether it be the arrival of a vaccine, the building of a hospital, or the completion of public works projects.
Salvadoran government video for arrival of COVID vaccine February 17.
For the past several months or more, the armed forces have been delivering packages of food to households across the country, documented with lots of pictures and social media posts.
¡Todos unidos por un mismo objetivo!— FUERZA ARMADA (@FUERZARMADASV) February 14, 2021
Estamos trabajando sin descanso para llevar hasta la puerta de tu hogar los Paquetes Alimentarios, bajo la logística del Programa de Emergencia Sanitaria (PES). pic.twitter.com/ZeEi4D5smL
Another prime example is the Mayor of San Salvador, Ernesto ("Neto") Muyshondt of ARENA, who is shameless in using city employees and resources in his campaign material. Here is a tweet by the city government of a fumigation campaign worker in his "Neto" campaign T-shirt.
✅ | A través de nuestro programa de #SSenAcción intervenimos diariamente con diferentes trabajos en los seis distritos de San Salvador.— Alcaldía de San Salvador (@alcaldia_ss) February 17, 2021
💯 | Te mostramos la jornada de fumigación en el Reparto Escalón Norte del Distrito II. #SSesTuyo #SSenAcción pic.twitter.com/FQteHXq7Y1
Here is Muyshondt delivering construction materials to homeowners -- a time honored campaign tradition by mayors everywhere in El Salvador.
💯 | Nuestro alcalde @emuyshondt apoyó a las familias capitalinas de la comunidad La Granjita del Distrito II, con la entrega de materiales de construcción para la mejora y reparación de sus viviendas. #SSesTuyo #SSenAcción pic.twitter.com/y2HTpYkhGF— Alcaldía de San Salvador (@alcaldia_ss) February 17, 2021
Of course no mayor's campaign would be complete without a promise to fill the potholes in the streets of the city.
🚧✅ | Nuestro alcalde @emuyshondt se trasladó al Barrio San Jacinto del Distrito V, en donde verificó los trabajos de bacheo como parte de nuestro Mega Plan. #SSesTuyo #SSenAcción #PlanBacheoSS pic.twitter.com/laafIC0swE— Alcaldía de San Salvador (@alcaldia_ss) February 16, 2021
And lets make sure when we fill potholes that the machinery is labelled with the mayor's campaign slogan "Neto Cumple"