The American educated Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, ran for a second term of Presidency in Bolivia in 2002; having early served from 1993-1997. More common referred to as “Goni”, Lozada with the help of an American campaign consulting group named GCS (Greenberg, Carville, Shrum), won the 2002 election by one of the closest margins anyone in politics has seen. Our Brand is Crisis tells the story of Goni’s strategies implemented by the GCS, his victory, and a short rule as president before his resignation.
A crisis over unemployment was one of the primary issue facing Bolivia’s government in 2002. GCS and Goni promoted the phrase “Crisis”, and stated that ending the crisis would be Goni’s main goal once elected. The citizen’s of Bolivia wanted to be heard and many went to the streets in protest, believing that it was their only way for the government to hear their opinion. However to Goni, the public’s opinion was an uneducated one and he believed his emergency revitalization plan created the best future for Bolivia. Goni lost a lot of respect from the public after this negative comment was reported from the media. One of Goni’s toughest opponents, Evo Morales, used his closer relationship with the citizens of Bolivia to gain more votes and support from the. Goni spent his childhood and schooling in the United States, where he learned modern ideals of a successful economy. He was able to overcome his diminishing relationship with Bolivians from the help of the GCS. The GCS used a combination of modern polling, focus groups, and campaigning strategies in creating a powerful image, specifically focusing on his experience of already serving as President. Goni was able to capture enough votes to beat both Evo Morales and Manfred Reyes. Once elected, implementing the emergency plan proved to be difficult due to a lack of public cooperation. After serving in office for under a year, Goni resigned to cease having more bloodshed in Bolivia over the gas conflict; a dispute that continues today.
Bolivia sits on a large natural gas reserve creating potential for trade and foreign investment. During Goni’s first run as President he initiated many reforms in Bolivia. One of which was a capitalization reform creating five privately owned state companies in hopes of creating more capital in Bolivia with out having more corruption. With what foreign investment Bolivia garnered, much of the profit never reached the economic infrastructure of the country. Much of this investment came from the United States and other economically advanced countries. Termed the “Washington Consensus”, the entirety of this foreign investment was to create a more stable environment in Latin America. However, a mismanaged use of capitol and funding could not create a better economy and the consensus on Latin America crumbled. For Bolivia to ultimately create a successful economy, the government must try to diversify and become less reliant on natural gas and other minerals.