Our Brand is Crisis

Our Brand is Crisis is a documentary produced and directed by Rachel Boynton. This documentary follows a group of American political consultants including Jeremy Rosner and Mr. Carville as they set their sights on getting Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada elected for a second term in Bolivia’s 2002 elections. This was a very particular campaign race with heated issues that were approached from the wrong direction. The main issues this country faced were the contributors to the failure in the approach and failure of Losada’s campaign. While Gonzalo actually did win the campaign he won by less than twenty-five percent of the vote, meaning that over seventy-five percent of the country voted against Gonzalo making this not a very successful win. Bolivia was dealing with a very weak government, poverty, and basically an economic crisis that the previous presidents had not been able to fix, while Gonzalo claimed to have a plan to fix Bolivia he differed from the majority on the main issue of natural gas and his political consultants approached his campaign from a very Americanized viewpoint not doing him any favors.

One major issue that contributed to the failure of the election was Bolivia’s weak government. Over the years of 1982-2002 Bolivia had nine presidents indicating what a problem the country had. Poverty was a terrible issue; the country was crumbling from within, but did not wish to open up an export with other countries. Gonzalo planned to open up trade by exporting natural gas out of the country through a pipeline in Chile hopefully giving the economy a boost, but making it more dependent on outside countries. This was a major issue with the Bolivian people for not only do they hate Chile, but they were also worried about what country would reap the benefits of the natural gas. James Cypher discussed how Mexico had been in a similar situation in the 90’s stating, “Mexico was locked into a neoliberal cycle of external dependence that hinged upon the subminimum wages of its long-suffering workforce.” Mexico and Bolivia are not the only ones partake in the foreign economic domination; John Perkins discussed and laid out how the US has practically infiltrated and taken over economic trade in regions with sources we desire. Bolivia would have followed suit with the other countries if Gonzalo had maintained his office, but the citizens of Bolivia made it clear that this is not what they desired.

The second reason this campaign may not have been as successful is because of the approach taken by the American political consultant team. The consultant team, while doing a good job, approached the campaign from the perspective of an American campaign race instead of that of a Bolivian race. They conducted test groups to pick everything about their campaign as they would in America, but what is good for America is not necessarily good for other countries, as proven here.

After the elections people rioted through the streets destroying and being so out of control that Gonzalo ended up stepping down and fleeing back to the United States. The consultants stated that there were some things that democracy could just not fix, but it seems to be more that they just didn’t run the campaign conducive to Bolivia.