Our Brand Is Crisis

Through the recent study of American involvement in Latin America, it comes no surprise to any witness that the United States would play such an influential role in the 2002 political elections in Bolivia, as documented in the film, Our Brand is Crisis. The United States has made it known that it would desire for poorer countries to provide for their needs, financially and economically, and Bolivia is a prime target for such desires. As the Greenville Carville Shrum consulting firm strongly influences the election from the background, the issues that plague the developing country take the spotlight in the film. The American chosen candidate fully exploited and abused his country in order to satisfy his foreign investors, ignoring the needs of his people in favor of outsourcing the country’s primary economic factors to neighboring countries or to the United States itself.
The hypocritical nature of Americans teaches the GCS’ election runner, Gonzalo Sanchez De Lozado, the proper techniques to exploiting the working man to their advantage. As observed by James Cypher in his article, “The Slow Death of the Washington Consensus on Latin America,” the inhabitants of Bolivia became dependent on the harvesting of “mining, petroleum/petrochemical, agricultural, fishing, and timber operations” (47). While the general labor workers of the area are unaware of the proper wages for the tasks they perform to attain these natural resources, politicians like Lozado and those in the United States use their quick-witted techniques to exploit the people. The ignorance of the poor leaves them unaware of the inequality and mistreatment they receive on a daily business, because their governmental representatives support the sale of natural gas through Chile. Business transactions through a third party remove the wealth from the Bolivian economy, but politicians agree that the outsourcing of employment would benefit the country in the long-term. Similar to companies from the United States, outsourcing only depletes employment and removes wealth gradually over time.
The only country that receives the benefits of these countries’ economical decisions is the United States. Lozado, previously born in the Washington, valued the “free market” and capitalism. According to John Perkins in “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” hitmen are taught to utilize their skills to influence a country’s economy for the benefit for the most powerful nation in the world. Developing countries, like Bolivia, are easily convinced to invest their financial wealth in foreign markets. The basic lesson a economic hitman will teach: “to become part of a vast network that promotes U.S. commercial interest” (Perkins 9). The main focus of hundreds of countries is to continue empowering the United States as opposed to increasing their economic condition. Lozado seemed to be the perfect student for the economic hitman, successfully emulating their teachings through the use of his type of capitalism. He may have won the election, but his heavy taxation of the poorest individuals within the country in order to provide more money for foreigners left him in bad favor. His retirement would soon come in 2003, after the country voiced their disproval with his policies. However, after viewing the film, it becomes evident that Latin America’s economic success is related to the investment of the United States.