Our Brand Is Crisis, Week 15, History 475

Our Brand in Crisis has proved to be a more difficult movie for me to blog on due to the fact that I am a complete and total novice when it comes to economic talk, usually I just zone out. What I have gathered from this film and the readings is that there are large economic issues faced by Latin America, and many are the directly related to economic relations with foreign countries. The film documents a Bolivian political campaign masterminded by GCS, an American political campaign company. What is most pertinent to me about the film and readings is the constant mention of a ‘crisis’ and ‘recognizing the ‘crisis’, owning the ‘crisis’ but never solving the crisis.

The Cypher article dictates that “Latin America is engaged in an indiscriminate opening to foreign capital, thus permitting its pattern of national economic development to become hostage to volatile and perversive whims of global financial markets.” What I take away from this is that allowing foreign markets to flood and take over your system makes your country subservient and dependent about the trade and interaction with those foreign countries. It also prevents true Latin American manufacturers from being successful in their own countries. This crisis is presented in the film from this week. Many of the riots about people unhappy with the Bolivian government were out of work our could not find fair work. Foreign companies make jobs scarce and only pay little to the workers who do find work. Understanding the relationship between Latin America and foreign countries, like the United States sheds light on why so many were angered in Bolivia. I find it quite Ironic that a Bolivian presidential candidate, and winner, relied on the expertise and guidance of an American company to secure his presidency. His campaign ran with the idea that ‘he had made mistakes and wanted the country to give him a chance to fix them.” He did not make it a year in his second term. He talked big words but did not follow through. He ‘sold’ a ‘brand’ to the people and they wanted to return it in the end because they were not satisfied.

John Perkin’s expose on this crisis was insightful. He described his role by saying, “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. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors.” It is also ironic that Perkins’ compares his role in this issue to that of the Mafia. He was the face that made people buy into this idea, and later tried to fix it, but failed. His story shows exactly how it happened that Latin America got to where it is today. His job was to make these countries weak so that the powerful countries would always have a pay day, even at someone elses expense.

This crisis faced by Latin America is an economic one, and it is complex and deep. What is clear is that these countries are being taken advantage of by larger more powerful companies. In the film the idea that ‘a mistake is learned from’ is a big theme. This same idea is presented by Perkins. But Latin America is experiencing this crisis still, and even with all the political jar-gin about the crisis, no solution, aside from ‘learning from past mistakes’ has been presented.