The No campaign or a falsified simulacrum of history

Image result for No film 2012


The latter half of the twenty-tens has been dominated by fear, mistrust and insecurity. As a result of this, the very notion that we know as “truth” has been viciously complicated, especially in regards to the media. This is why we have chosen our group project on Latin America to be centred around the media, not because the media is always true, but because the media has the power to highlight and diminish stories and plights. We believe that what the media chooses and has chosen in the past to give a voice to is extremely important when regarding the global perception of Latin America today. This being particularly potent when researching the role of activist networks in Latin America. My personal focus is on the “Si” and “No” campaigns in Chile. The No Campaign was the successful advertising campaign which led to a historic plebiscite vote which led to the end of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s 16 and a half year rule over Chile.


Source 1:

Dzero, I..”Larraín’s Film No and Its Inspiration, El plebiscito: Chile’s Transition to Democracy as a Simulacrum.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura 31.1 (2015): 120-132. Project MUSE. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <>.


Larrain, P. (Director). (2012). No[Motion picture]. Chile: Sony Pictures Classics.


The first sources I utilised are interlinked, Larrain’s 2012 film “No” discusses the power of advertising and media in running an effective campaign. Despite the film not being entirely factual, it’s seamlessly interwoven real-life footage, places it as a useful source, especially for understanding the extreme gravitas of what those in the No Campaign willingly chose to embark upon. For the main character, the very fictional Rene Saavedra, both democracy and dictatorship are both products that need to be sold to the public with the television is only its marketplace. Just as it happened in reality, both No And Si (Yes) campaigns were given just fifteen minutes to convince the public to take their side, and according to this film, it was bright colours, catchy jingles and rose-tinted blindness that led to success. An article from Project Muse, “Larraín’s Film No and Its Inspiration, El plebiscito” ultimately decides to discuss the film as a simulacrum, a falsified adaptation of the real truth. It focuses on the journey that films which happen to be “based on a true story” are forced to take, how years of strife has to be condensed into a consumable yet snappy amount of time. The film is an adaptation of the play and the play, real life. Just as the main characters in the movie “No” were forced to truncate their arguments we are forced to digest this and take it to be the truth. Fundamentally, the problem with adverts is the similar to issues with films, being that in creating simplified antagonists and protagonists the complex parts of history will be cast away. Critics familiar with what they believe to be true events have slandered the movie for only drawing light to the role of the media in the plebiscite, with the real director of the No Campaign Genaro Arriagada calling it a “gross oversimplification that has nothing to do with reality”. In this instance, the simulacrum takes the shape of “fake news”, according to “factual” academic sources, the real swaying factor in the plebiscite should really be attributed to the grass-roots effort to register 7.5 million voters for the election. However,  whilst voter registration is boring whereas fun, bright colours and a disillusioned romance are a lot more compelling. What is most important to note is that in this case, the media is choosing not just whose truth is worth telling but whose truth should be immortalised.

My second source is a primary source, No Campaign advert itself. I have chosen to focus on the Chile, la alegría ya viene” section of the advertisement. This is primarily because of the fact that it is this clip which was highlighted the most in the No Film and it is also the section held at the forefront of the campaign. The clip displaying happy and hopeful visuals, with dancing and picnics is accompanied by a joyful and catchy jingle. However, what this clip demonstrates in actuality is advertising at is most excellent. The first thing to focus on is the No Logo itself, the word No is written is white, not black, showing that disagreeing does not have to have negative connotations. This very notion is reinforced by the colourful rainbow background, rainbows signify the calm after the storm. In this case, the storm is Augusto Pinochet. Whilst the Yes campaign, brandished No as uncertain, costly and irresponsible, the No campaign juxtaposed this with peace and as something which will bring a restoration to normality. When deconstructing the three-minute advert itself, what may seem like pretty visuals, is actually accompanied by powerful anti-government lyrics. The verses are perfect for this

Whilst these lyrics are being sung in an upbeat vibrato we are met with visuals of smiling, children dancing and a man who misses the bus only to be hugged by his fellow Chilean. There are no demonstrations of death or violence, but instead like the rainbow, the idea is to showcase this ideal hope. There is no more powerful moment in the video than the refrain.

Chile la alegría ya viene

Chile la alegría ya viene

Chile la alegría ya viene


Chile, la alegría ya viene” which roughly translates to “Chile, happiness is coming”. This section is the most memorable section in the video, its ritualistic chanting nature filled with claps encourages audience inclusivity. Even if you aren’t in the video you are almost compelled to become part of the performance and in turn part of the movement. The rule of three is incredibly effective here, also, repeating phrases three times is the perfect way to get messages to resonate more deeply with their audiences. It is unsurprising that it is this very section that became a motif for the movements.

But are any of these sources truthful, or are they simulacrum skewed ideas and skewed perspectives that we are forced to consume.  Arguably yes and no, despite that the advertising campaign is more likely to be etched into the fabric of time it is also important to take every source with a pinch of salt. Every source has a motive, the film had a motive to make a coherent narrative and the advert to convince people to vote for their cause. However, just because these sources have a motive doesn’t make them false, it just makes them powerful.



Dzero, I..”Larraín’s Film No and Its Inspiration, El plebiscito: Chile’s Transition to Democracy as a Simulacrum.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura 31.1 (2015): 120-132. Project MUSE. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <>.


Larrain, P. (Director). (2012). No[Motion picture]. Chile: Sony Pictures Classics.


  1. (2013, October 04). Chile, la alegría ya viene. Retrieved from


Rohter, L. (2013, February 09). One Prism on the Undoing of Pinochet. Retrieved from


Hare, E. (2013, March 19). Happiness is Coming! Retrieved from


The Colonial Experience

“In short, these paintings give us a vision of a hierarchical social order in which racial difference is in sync with a whole series of other distinction. Everyone has a place in this panorama of social society but the internal grid divides one social group from another.”

Slavery ended in Brazil in 1888, an estimated amount of four million slaves had entered Brazil. Being African myself, and studying african history has made me become aware of this, but despite the fact that my roots are very much in Africa I knew very little of the slave trade, south of the United States.

And then I watched this video.

I learnt about the whitening that took place in Brazil, the cultural genocide that took place and the deep societal desire to whiten one’s skin, and I felt disgusted. Disgusted, that even today in the 21st century, over 100 years later there are still systemic vices in society to rid people of colour of their colour.

And this is not just in Brazil, it’s everywhere, in Europe, even in Africa. Even between Africans themselves, there is a hierarchy between lighter skinned girls and darker skinned girls. I myself, am a product of my own environment.

For example, I look at my makeup, the fact that I contour lighter under my eyes, the fact that I have to pay significantly more money to find a foundation shade my colour, the fact that I chemically straighten my hair every two months. I don’t believe that I do these things for fun but more as a means of survival. So that I am not judged, so that I am more respected by those around me.

When I look at the pictures, and I see people who look like me undressed, “savage” it shows me how much work has been done but also at the same time how much work needs to be done