Our Brand is Crisis

Latin America has a long history of a system of corporatocracy, or the extensive involvement of businesses with government. This system of corruption, according to John Perkins, serves as a means for the elite to funnel trillions of dollars into their own pockets. Much of Latin America suffers from a resource curse where their entire economies are dominated by one resource, leaving their economy susceptible to the ebb and flow of commodity prices and their constantly changing demand. This curse has been prevalent for much of the past 500 years, and led to increased debt for nations that have trouble enough providing their people with basic services. Influenced by corporate interests, Latin American governments were convinced to take loans from global banks that have put them into serious debt. The 3rd world holds no chance under the current circumstances of gaining its financial independence from the economic calamities that were begun by corrupt politicians. Thus, they have been forced to begin privatizing public services like healthcare, education, electricity, and water.

It is this privatization of public services that ignited the conflicts of Bolivia in the early 2000s. Allowing foreign investors to come into the country, the government began selling public water to private companies in an attempt to pay off piling debts. Latin America has had its resources constantly stripped by foreigners, particularly Europe and the U.S., leaving a fraction of profits to domestic use while individuals from far away accumulate an immense amount of its wealth. In Our Brand is Crisis, a culmination of dissent from the exportation of Bolivia’s natural gas and disappointment over forgotten promises from elected officials began mass protests that eventually exiled its president. Evo Morales, the first indigenous president to ever win an election in Bolivia, finally came into power in 2005 with a comparatively overwhelming amount of support from the Bolivian people. Evo supports nationalizing industries and is surely concerned with Bolivian debts to world banks. Thus, should the U.S. and powers of the World Bank make some truce with Latin America’s 3rd world? Or should it demand the money that it was promised and, in the process, continue to suppress a continent of people that seem to never get a fresh start?