The South of the Border, a look to Chavez and the Latin American process of change

Caracas, Sept 07 – “If it succeeds, it would the first time that someone in Latin America distances the whole region from the United States economic control,” expressed the North American filmmaker Oliver Stone during his new documentary South of the Border, which was inaugurated at the 66 edition of the Venice Film Festival, which had the attendance of the protagonist of the film, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The director filmed the documentary at the house of Chavez’s relatives, in Sabaneta de Barinas (southwestern Venezuela). Also he attended to several meetings of work in which the President analyzed international and oil affairs, as well as he made reference to his ideas about socialism and the Bolivarian thought.

In this documentary, Stone explores the resurgence of Latin American progressive movements by means of Hugo Chavez.

Narrated from the perspective of its producer, the documentary starts its route taking into account what the United States media has tried to show about the Venezuelan President, by branding him of a negative influence for America and inclusively as a threat, even worse than Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution.

However, Stone does not resign to the negative perspective of this media, influenced by the statements of US high-ranking authorities, such as the former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Thus, he interviews great part of current and former presidents from South America, such as Evo Moreales, from Bolivia; Cristina Fernandez and Nestor Kirchner (former president), from Argentina; Fernando Lugo, president of Paraguay; Raul Castro, from Cuba; Brazil’s president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva; and Rafael Correa, from Ecuador.

“The media in America has split the Latin American continent into the bad left-wing and the good left-wing… They have branded (Rafael) Correa as the bad left-wing, together with (Evo) Morales and (Hugo) Chavez. On the other hand, they call (Luiz Inacio) Lula da Silva as the good left-wing,” Stone expresses in the film.

During these encounters, the filmmaker realizes the relevance the direct contact with the people has for the current presidents of the South American countries, given the fact that as the Argentinean president says in the film, “for the first time in the region governors seem to those governed.”

Likewise, South American presidents talk about the plain interests that the United States has upon the region, disguised as an endless fight against drug trafficking and an alleged economic help to the region.

“We do not have to kneel before power,” expressed the former Argentinean president Nestor Kirchner in an interview; meanwhile, Lula da Silva insisted in that the “single thing I want is to be treaty on equal terms.”

According to the 62-year old filmmaker, who has a broad and polemic filmography (such as Platoon, Natural Born Killer, JFK, and W., among others) Chavez is the most representative figure of what occurs in Latin America and that is why he is the protagonist of the South of the Border.

Oliver Stone has been awarded with three Oscar for the script of Midnight Express (1978), and the direction of Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).


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