Monday 20 June 2011

South of the Border

Just watched Oliver Stone's travelogue through Latin America, after finally picking it up from 'Dogwoof' productions. It's an important film simply because it forces North American audiences to actually listen to the views of the elected leaders of the South; Chavez, Morales, Kirchners, Correa, Lula and Lugo.

Along the way, the abhorrent policies of the IMF and US imperialism are laid bare. There was a long explanation of the situation in Venezuela, partially because of the role the US played in the attempted coup in 2002, but partly because Hugo Chavez has been such an inspiration to the Latin American left in general, probably more so than Cuba in recent years.

In my book, I talk in depth about solidarity with Cuba and Venezuela, as examples of nations where the poor have been lifted out of deep poverty by the actions of their respective governments. This does not mean we cannot be critical of their governments, but we must see politics through the lens of the poor, and not the lens of the media, which tends to favour the rich. This film is a good reminder as to why that chapter is important. South America has demonstrated a different way to act in the world.

Democratic revolutionary socialism, allowing nations the right to not have their property plundered by the rich and powerful, is a powerful and viable alternative to modern capitalism.

The film has it's weaknesses, and I would have loved to have heard much more from Fernando Lugo - the former Bishop, now President of Paraguay. He is proof that Liberation Theology is far from dead, indeed, it seems to be forging a new way of being faithful to the world! Watch it if you get the chance!

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