Trailer for Oliver Stone’s South of the Border


Looks pretty good. Interviews with Raul Castro in Cuba, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Kristina Kirchner and her husband Nestor Kirchner in Argentina, Fernando do Lugo in Paraguay and Lula da Silva in Brazil.

Those South American accents the Presidents are speaking are really wild. I could barely understand a word any of them were saying.

Comes with another silly article in the Guardian by an interviewer who conducted a 1-hour interview with Chavez for the Guardian. Stephen Sackur’s interview is a bunch of distorted crap, as usual.

Yes, there is inflation in Venezuela, mostly due to an overheated economy but also due to the fact that the poor have so much more money now that they are buying so much more stuff. Also the producers are withholding products from the market to create artificial shortages in order to drive prices even higher. The US allies in Venezuela think that prices are not high enough!

Yes, there is an economic downturn, similar to one occurring all over the world, like in the US and Europe. I suppose the downturn there is due to the fact that capitalism is a failed system too?

Yes, there is unemployment in Venezuela, but the rate has been cut in half from 15% to 7% under Chavez.

Chavez is not “manufacturing poor people” as the opposition media owner claims. The poverty rate has collapsed under Chavez. He cut poverty in half.

He has not turned the oil, agriculture and power industries into vast state bureaucracies . The oil sector has always been state-run, but it was run by the elite for their own benefit. Chavez made it into a company that works for the people. He got rid of the elitist bureaucrats. The vast majority of the ag sector is in private hands, mostly in large estates. The state has only conducted some land reforms and turned idle land over to landless peasants. The power industry has been nationalized, true, as it has been in many European countries. So what?

Yes, the bolivar was devalued, a good idea. This was an economically necessary move and there was nothing wrong with it.

70% of the largest daily papers are in the hands of the opposition, as is ~70% of the broadcast media. The opposition media is like Fox News on steroids. If you went there and listened to what they say day in and out, you would be floored. Venezuela probably has the most vibrant opposition media in the hemisphere, certainly much stronger than the US opposition media.

RCTV was shut down for many reasons. Keep in mind that they supported the coup in 2002. If a TV station was a co-conspirator in a military coup to overthrow the US government, would it still be on the air. Anyway, they were kept on the air for years after the coup. They failed to abide by many reasonable regulations that they were asked to abide by, including keeping decent records.

They refused to abide by these rules in order to force a showdown with Chavez. Yes, they got suspended, but all they did was go to cable, where most of the Venezuelan media is anyway, like the US broadcast media. So they are still on the air and as wildly anti-Chavez as ever.

The owner of Globovision was arrested for economic crimes that he committed. The arrest warrant was issued not by Chavez but by a court. The charges are crimes related to his auto business. Chavez is cracking down on crooked businessmen all over the country. Too bad.

Yes, there is state corruption in Venezuela. It effects both Chavistas and economic pols in the states and cities that they rule. Corruption is a long-standing problem in Venezuela dating back to the early days of the Republic. It’s not going away anytime soon.

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