The Diversionary Use of Media Within the Land Dispute Between Chile and Bolivia


The land dispute between Bolivia and Chile has been an ongoing conflict that dates back to British decolonization. The War of the Pacific, which ended in 1904 and allowed Chilean sovereignty over land that was formerly Bolivia’s remains the root of the problem, as it rendered Bolivia a landlocked nation. In 2013 Bolivia filed a case with the International Court of Justice demanding negotiations of access to the Pacific Ocean. Within this land dispute, I analyzed the use of Twitter as a method of diversionary politics, which has been largely speculated over the years, that when presidential approval ratings are low in Bolivia, the land dispute is reignited as a method to divert attention away from other domestic conflicts, and increase public approval, also known as the “rally-round-the-flag” effect. By conducting a content analysis of Twitter, I was able to conclude that during certain periods of time, the Bolivian politicians do use the dispute as a method to increase public approval, and that the Chileans remain largely ambivalent and unconcerned with land dispute

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The University of Mississippi

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This paper was published in The University of Mississippi.

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