Our Brand Is Crisis

Our Brand Is Crisis is a movie created in 2005 that demonstrates the influence of United States’ neoliberalism and democracy being sold, like a brand-name product, to the leaders of Latin American countries. A group of Americans were hired by Bolivia’s President Goni to ensure his success in the reelection campaign. Their jobs included designing advertisements, creating commercials, taking polls to collect opinions, and deciding minute things like whether or not Goni wore a tie during his speeches. Although they were experts in knowing what phrases people clung to, color schemes that seemed “rosy”, and could calculate Goni’s support/opposition day by day they largely ignored the voice of Bolivians. It seemed like when they were asking some of the citizens opinions regarding Goni they were just calculating those opinions like they would numbers, blinding their eyes and deafening their ears to what the people really wanted: a voice in their political and economic systems. Jobs!

The shift from nationalism to neoliberalism began ”in the late 1980s, the term “Washington Consensus” served to encapsulate the crystallization of a paradigmatic shift in economic policy making regarding Latin America” (Cypher 47). The debt that Latin American countries faced seemed inescapable, and by reopening their countries to foreign investment provided a quick fix to improve that debt.”Neoliberal reforms have reduced government spending, a step toward balancing national budgets and reducing debt, but at a bitter social cost” (Chasteen 317). Allowing foreign investors to reconstruct the government policies regarding industry, the impoverished people, such as campesinos, were marginalized yet again.

One of Goni’s opponents in his campaign was Manfred. Manfred seemed to reinforce the voice of the campesinos, and vie for their presence in Bolivia. Goni, who was raised in the United States, was a strong supporter of transnational economic involvement and neoliberalism initially provided relief to the middle class. But ”as Latin American industries collapse across the region, devastated by foreign competition that the nationalists had kept out, millions of workers face unemployment or long-term underemployment in the so-called ‘informal’ service sector” (Chasteen 316). The GCS pollsters seemed to ignore the marginalized people like the peasants and campesinos. Their goal was to win the election and ensure another term for Goni. ”They reduced or removed the nationalist-inspired subsidies that made basic foodstuffs and public services affordable for the poor” (Chasteen 312). Although Goni achieved success in his campaign along with his American advisors, he only lasted one year in office due to the tumultuous environment in Bolivia. The poor class was left in the pink confetti dust of Goni’s election because his policies reinforced foreign investment which took their jobs, their lands, their Bolivia.