Our Brand is Crisis

Our Brand is Crisis was a documentary about the 2002 Bolivian presidential election.  One of the candidates, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, hired a team of American political campaign marketing professionals to boost up his election votes and ensure his success as president if he so were elected.  This film displays how the U.S. perhaps took advantage of Bolivia, making promises that would benefit other countries, causing Bolivia to depend on world economic giants.  This in a way reflects the current U.S. involvement on selling the way in Iraq.

James M. Cypher says that Latin American countries have kept their rates of interest high thus starving themselves from financial support and undercutting their public sector.  Their tax money goes to wealthy landowners and national debt, which in turn creates more of a financial gap between classes.  Their growing deficits slow down their economy getting countries such as Bolivia in an economic rut.  This was depicted in the film when footage of indigenous citizens were shown living on the streets along with many other types of poor people.  Gonzalo claimed to aid this poor sector of society if he was elected president.  When his plans fell however, they got angry.  Bolivians raided the streets and had violent protests where numerous people were killed.  It seems to be the Latin American culture to take matters into their own hands and have such violent protests, something that is not the norm here in the U.S.  Perhaps the American political campaign marketing team and Gonzalo should have prepared and planned better if such a situation were to occur.  The fact that Gonzalo had to seek exile in the U.S. is extreme to say the least.

John Perkins excerpt from his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was brutally honest, to say the least. Being an Economic Hit Man (EHM), his intended goal was to “create large profits for the contractors, and to make handful of wealthy and influential families in the receiving countries very happy, while assuring the long-term financial dependence and therefore the political loyalty of governments around the world.”  This seems to be what the American political campaign marketing team was doing with Gonzalo’s campaign.  Yes, they did get his numbers up in the election but it seemed to me that their long time goals favored larger countries and would keep Bolivia dependent on others for economic growth and support.  Perhaps the people of Bolivia recognized the long-term effects of Gonzalo’s promises after he was elected and that’s why they violently protested and targeted him for assassination.  Although you do have to consider that the election was extremely close between the three political candidates.  Gonzalo won by I believe 2% of the votes with both very close behind.  In consideration, very few Bolivians actually voted for Gonzalo.

The documentary concluded that Gonzalo as well as Morales failed at being successful presidents for Bolivia, but within approximately ten years there were numerous presidents.  This simply shows the nations instability to reach their goals and be economically and politically stable.