Our Brand is Crisis

The film “Our Brand is Crisis” is a documentary outlining the reelection of Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, the months following his reelection, and self-exile and the aftermath, The film focuses on the American-style campaigning and strategy for being reelected president. He hired James Carville and his associates (of President Clinton’s election committee) to help serve as his advisors during the whole process. The name of the film comes from the strategic spreading of American democracy in former authoritarian nations through these “strategists for hire”. This multinational realignment towards American neoliberal political and economic tendencies slowly grew into what would come to be known as the “Washington Consensus”. (Cypher 47) However by extending our fingers into all of these economies, we (America) were essentially spreading ourselves too thin and putting too much stock into all of these young democracies financially…needless to say, this was a bad idea. When these economies failed, it impacted the United States as there were investments made in the form of bail out and rescue funds. As was the case with Bolivia, after Goni realized he could not save Bolivia economically, he pulled out and moved to the United States, realizing that the United States was the better option of the two.
Following this trend of economic tethers between the United States and developing nations, we see the inevitable downside of relying on a foreign import entirely for the well being of the nation. OPEC is the primary supplier of oil to the United States, and as a result of this, the Middle East, as a region, has huge influence over how much Americans are paying every week to fill up their cars, trucks, and SUVs. The industry is in the business of making money too, and they will do whatever it takes. According to the Perkins literature, they were willing to kill off or otherwise remove unproductive or potentially damaging members of the oil companies. Along the same vein, if they found somewhere like the Amazonian Basin (a place rich in crude oil deposits), they were willing to buy out the government, and demolish the rain forest and tropical paradise in order to make a few million dollars.
This ties us back to the film once again. James Carville and his associates were willing to orchestrate elaborate smear campaigns and psychological tactics in order to persuade the people of Bolivia to reelect someone that already had a reputation for being an ineffective and economically harmful leader to lead their country even further down the economic spiral that they were currently experiencing.  The bottom line for the whole situation is that it all ties back to making money, or at the very least not losing money. Goni would have lost money if he had not been reelected, and he wanted to maintain his standard of living in the face of economic crisis, but at the same time he thought he could help Bolivia recover and raise the standard of living for the country as a whole.