Foreign Policy Blogs

South of the Border (2009)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
Is Simon Bolivar’s dream becoming a reality?
There are some who see South America’s increasingly leftist and nationalistic regionalism as evidence of just that.
Bolivar, the Great Liberator, envisioned a continent united, not one of competing countries whose borders were drawn up by empires hundreds of years ago.
From the very beginning, director Oliver Stone does not try to hide his admiration of the new leftists in South America.
He focuses primarily on President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, a man who Stone thinks gets a raw deal in the United States media.
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Speaking bluntly, Chavez says it is because of Venezuela’s oil that the United States wants him gone. Venezuela is the number three supplier of oil to the United States.
He also says the main reason why Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was targeted and eventually executed is because of oil.
Stone also seems enamored with the leaders because not only have they taken control of their countries’ affairs, but seem to have lifted up the poor.
And the leaders come from very different backgrounds.
President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, who studied in the United States, tells Stone he would be more worried if the United States media actually liked him.

South of the Border (2009)

And Argentine President Cristina Kirchner notes that for the first time, South American leaders are looking more and more like the people they represent. She points to Bolivian President Evo Morales, the first indigenous person to be elected to that office in Bolivia, as evidence of that.
Stone also interviews Raul Castro of Cuba, Nestor Kirchner of Argentina (former president and husband to Cristina), President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay (a former liberation theologian), and Brazilian President Lula of Brazil, a labor organizer.
While Stone tips the balance on his coverage of these leaders, he also allows for frank dialogue which is illuminating.
Now that the media in the United States is caught up in war reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan, it is woefully ignorant of the massive changes happening just south of the border.
South of the Border, which is a must-see despite its leanings, is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;