Oliver Stone: The US Has Launched Military Interventions and Political Coups Fifty-Five Times in Latin America
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Critically-acclaimed Hollywood Director Oliver Stone dropped by our studio for a Brave New Conversation, where I spoke with him about his latest documentary South of the Border, scheduled to be released in more than 30 countries this month. South of the Border begins by exploring the role that the corporate-owned mainstream media in the U.S. and Venezuela have played in shaping American's perspectives on South America, beginning with clips of the attempted coup on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. In the Brave New Conversation, Stone describes the South American press:
The press [in South America] is totally owned privately, and most of that press, unlike most Americans realize, is anti-reform. Anybody who comes along and wants to change anything is castigated in the press. Chavez is one example: They kill him every day. The press is vibrant, it's oppositional, calls for his resignation, calls him a madman, and sometimes calls for an overthrow of the government. This is going on everyday and in America they say there's censorship. We're crazy; if we had a press like that, it'd be Fox News on steroids.
South of the Border offers a unique perspective on Latin America, one of a quiet revolution taking place where democratically-elected presidents have braved the strong arm of the US and its policies throughout the region by daring to oppose money for the War on Drugs and structural adjustment policies of the International Monetary Fund, making history with their efforts. Oliver Stone interviews Brazil's Lula da Silva, Argentina's Cristina Kirchner and her husband, ex-President Nestor Kirchner, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Castro of Cuba, and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: Leaders who are committed and unified in strengthening their countries' economic engine without the interference from the US.
To give you a glimpse of what the US has done in Latin America, Stone explains the following:
The only two allies we have left are Peru and Colombia -- both bad guys, because we've given Colombia 6 billion dollars to fight this so-called drug war. The paramilitaries in Colombia have killed close to maybe 30 thousand -- we don't even know -- maybe 120,000, maybe even 200,000 people have vanished in Colombia over the last 20 years. It's a horrible war.
South of the Border was an eye-opening experience, and I hope people will see it. I thought I was well-informed about South America before the film, but I came away with a whole new perspective. This is what is so wonderful about films that make a difference: you go in with one set of eyes and perceptions and come out thinking and feeling entirely different.
Robert Greenwald is the director/producer of "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," as well as many other films. He is a board member of the Independent Media Institute, AlterNet's parent organization.