“Our Brand is Crisis” (2005) is a documentary film by Rachel Boynton about the 2002 presidential election is Bolivia. The film follows a campaign marketing team, Greenville Carville Shurm ”GCS”, and presidential candidate, Goni. GCS is an American-based marketing team that has worked on many foreign political campaign teams around the world. GCS worked with Goni and his campaign team in 2002 in “Our Brand is Crisis” to help promote him and his presidential goals in Bolivia. Even though Goni wins the election, he only got 22% of the vote, and after a short time in office, Goni steps down as President of Bolivia and flees to the United States. After analyzing the film and the efforts by GCS, it is clear the tactics used here in the United States don’t always work in foreign countries political campaigns. Branding the term ”crisis” in Bolivia was an understatement for the country’s economic problems during the presidential race.
As we saw in “Our Brand is Crisis”, Bolivia was economically suffering terribly like many other Latin American countries and at the hand of the United States. In a book by John Perkins called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, he discusses his many years being an ”EMH” for the United States and ruining economies in Latin American while making his fortunate. In his book, he talks about the time he spent in the captial of Ecuador fighting for their oil while the tribes were fighting for their land and wealth.
“I was on my way to meet with the Shuars, the Kichrvas, and their neighbors the Achuars, the Zaparos, and the Shilviars tribes determined to prevent our oil companies from destroying their homes, families, and lands, even if it means they must die in the process. For them, this is a war about the surival of their children and cultures, while for us it is about power, money, and natural resources It is one part of the struggle for world domination and the dream of a few greedy men, global empire. That is what we EHMs do best: we build a global empire.”
It is evident that all around Latin American in the poorest of countries, the US was looking for ways to get more money and profit off of these people who already had nothing. This seems to be the way the Bolivians felt during the presidential election of 2002. Goni had promised many things like more jobs for the citizens of Bolivia and after he won the election, they felt that he didn’t uphold his promises. It seemed Goni wasn’t concerned about the poor. In the controlled groups done by GCS, the people felt that Goni wasn’t the best choice for president and didn’t agree with his new conference about rasising taxes on the people of Bolivia. Like in many countries in Latin American and unstable democracies, the people took to the streets to protest against Goni. Eventually, Goni’s vice president took over being president and promised many things as well. He was also ran out of office, and Morales became president. In the controlled groups performed by GCS, the citizens said that Morales would have been the best choice from the beginning. Even though GCS thought “crisis” would be a good brand to capture the attention of the Bolivians, it seems that the “crisis” was too much for Goni to handle and control. In an article called “The Slow Death of the Washington Consensus on Latin America” by James M. Cypher, discusses the ecomonic policy making in Latin American. “Increasing poverty, stagnant or falling real wages, and a further and steady widening of the distribution of income in virtually every nation has also become the omnipresent and largely ignored social context of the neoliberal era” (Cypher, 47). This is true for many countries in Latin American and in Bolivia as well. The elites of Latin American and the US were not concerned with the real economic problems going on, just about making themselves more wealth.