Oliver Stone’s Personal Appearance Fuels Controversy Over ‘South of the Border’_Featured_, Politics Sunday, December 12th, 2010
A sold-out crowd listened to Oliver Stone do Q&A last Wednesday night after a screening of “South of the Border” at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California. “South of the Border” is his most recent documentary film released in 2009 which deals with very controversial topics including Venezuela, Hugo Chávez and other revolutionary new leaders of South American nations.
The film itself provides an alternative perspective of South American leaders and their political views and motivations. The U.S. media has portrayed them as dictators that harbor terrorists. The reality is that leaders such as Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, and Nestor and Christina Kirchner of Argentina are fighting for their sovereignty by paying off their debts to the International Monetary Fund, keeping democratic elections without outside influence, phasing out foreign military bases, and having control of natural resources.
Hugo Chávez was the main focus and he has always maintained he is not in charge but rather “for the people.” Chávez ran into opposition mostly from the media in Venezuela who portrayed Chávez supporters as instigators of violence when in fact the witnesses saw that they had acted in self defense against a sniper but the media showed them firing back but not showing why. A coup attempt was made on Chávez and he believes the Bush administration orchestrated it however one day later Chávez was back in office and the phony revolution had failed because his military stood behind him.
Lula da Silva of Brazil wanted to pay his debt to the IMF in full but the IMF agent told him to keep the money and not to worry about it but he insisted on paying it off and now Brazil has a $260 billion dollar surplus.
Rafael Correa the leader of Ecuador had studied in the United States but he wanted to make reforms which included getting rid of U.S. military bases in Ecuador. Ecuador does not get any funding or compensation from these bases and Correa contends that if he maintains a U.S. base in Ecuador then he should be able to establish an Ecuadorian base in Miami.
Nestor Kirchener of Argentina said no to the free trade agreement and told Bush that the solution to problems now is a “Marshall Plan” and Bush got upset saying that the Marshall Plan was a crazy idea of the Democrats. Bush added, “The best way to revitalize the economy is war.”
Evo Morales of Bolivia no longer allows foreign bases in Ecuador, and fights against neoliberalism, colonialism, and imperialism. He said his worst enemy is the media and the base for every country should be to control their natural resources.
Once the film concluded Oliver Stone sat with the editors of the film on center stage to discuss the film and answer questions. When asked how he got involved in South American politics he said that once he returned from his travels in Asia, Richard Boyle brought him to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Stone had been in Vietnam but never thought it would happen again in his lifetime and he saw them gearing up for the next Contra war and it was going to happen all over again. The combination of being involved with Scarface then his film ‘Salvador’ hit him between the eyes and awoke him to the death squads in the Reagan era and the double standard that Stone describes as, “… the idea that this is our backyard and we can piss in it and do whatever we want and no one cares.”
Stone thinks the Wikileaks issue is interesting because there was a cable about Honduras which wasn’t discussed in the mainstream media and the real diplomatic approach was betraying the democracy of Honduras. He also said that filmmakers should avoid doing documentaries about South America because of his experience having his film “Comandante” pulled from Showtime.
Stone said that the problems in South America go back at least a century but one of the biggest problems is bad reporting and the corporate policy opposing reform in South America.
Oliver said that the reformed countries of South America are unified which is not well reported. Kirchener criticized Chávez because he’s such a strong leader that few are willing to rise within the ranks of his democratic followers with the same idealism. The implications when Chávez leaves office are that it will be difficult to elect someone strong that has similar views which will risk Venezuela going back to their old ways.
When asked about Mexico Stone said that the leftists won in 2006 but they allowed Calderon to steal the election and the U.S. was involved in letting this “fake regime” take over and an escalation in the drug war. He said that Wikileaks made it even more clear that the U.S. thwarted the leftist leaders in Honduras and Mexico.
Stone defends Chávez that he is not a dictator, he isn’t stealing the vote but he is in fact winning elections again and again because the people support him. Oliver said that elections have been rigged against Chávez including, ” … when Hillary Clinton’s guy went down there,” and that the New York Times denied that there was a coup attempt against Chávez by mincing words when they said he was technically never out of office though there was a real attempt.
When asked if Oliver Stone had been debriefed or interrogated by the government as to how he got classified information about the JFK assassination he said that he did testify about secrecy in government which led to declassifying documents. What he is talking about is the Assassination Records Review Board which was created due to public outcries that documents become declassified after the JFK film was released.
Oliver Stone has been working on a miniseries for three years called “The Forgotten History of the United States” which he hopes will be out in March 2011. It will be approximately 13 hours long. It covers 1900-2010 but starts in 1945 involving using John Foster Dulles and the CIA and how they tried to get rid of regimes which were unfriendly to the United States. Oliver Stone also added that he is upset about U.S. history textbooks not telling the whole truth.
Here is an interesting interview of Oliver Stone on Larry King featuring Jesse Ventura and Connie Mack.