Our Brand is Crisis

       The doculmentary, “Our Brand is Crisis”, directed by Rachel Boynton demonstrates how American political tactics influenced, and eventually won the presidency for Gonzalaz Sanchez de Lorenza, known as “Goni” in Bolivia. The film follows the American political consulting firm of Greenville Carvill Shrum and its methods for achieving the election of Goni. This firm used a number of American techniques to influence the election in a country with a much different political and economic history than the United States. The consultants used focus groups and polls to discover what adds were most benficial for the popularity of thier candidant. Notably, the consultants ran a rather “dirty: campaign against the opposing candidates, espessially Manfred Reyes Villa, whom they accused of  corruption and attacted his vast aquistion of wealth and military background.

       Possibly more important than following the campaign practices of Goni and his American consultants, was the portrayel of the economic strife that was clearly present in Bolivia, whch brought about huge protests from the indeginous, working class peasants, led by another candidate for the presidency Evo Morales. Irocically the American consultants didn’t see much strenth in Morales’ campaign which was more popularly concentrated in the countryside. To understand the situation in Bolivian politics, one must look at the dire economic circumstances present in the country at the time of the election. According to James M. Cypher, “Latin America engaged in an indiscriminate opening to foreign capital, thus permitting its pattern of national economic development to become hostage to the volatile and perverse whims of global financial markets. Indiscriminate opening of the capital account and slipshod deregulation and privatization of the financial sector-hallmarks of the Latin American economic “revolution” of the 1980s and 1990s-have come under increasing scrutiny. (Cypher, 50)

 The low wages for ingiginous families and general economic turmoil, exept within a very small percentage of the population, was brought on by the exploitation of the country’s resourses by large multi-national corporations. “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” gives good insight into how this explotation took place. These huge corporations push for Latin American nations to be opened up to “free trade” and foreign investment. John Perkins sums up the goal of these multi-national corporations by saying, “That is what we EHMs do best: we build a global empire. We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks.” (Perkins xx) Basically what happens is that these huge corporations, from nations outside of Latin America, convince the governments of Latin American nations to “capitalize” their industries and, in sum, turn over control of these industries to the corporations, who exploit them and actually remove money from the economy of, for example, Bolivia. This “capitalization” proves to be very economically advantages for a very small, elite, percentatge of the Latin American nation in question, but ultimately has a negative impact on the poor. The question of “captilization” of national industries was at the forefront of the election in which Goni was running. The people were getting poorer and more and more upset with government corruption and the loss of their livlihoods. Goni could not live up to the promises he had made during his campaign to bring the Bolivian Nation, as a whole, to prosperity. Because of this, Evo Morales, would eventually be elected because he formed a visible connection with the poor peasants who were bearing the brunt of the econoomic turmoil caused by government corruption and the exploitation of Bolivian resourses by corporations.