Pop Culture Homework Assignment: South of the Border

This is a documentary made my Oliver Stone in which he travels to South America and interviews a number of South American presidents who have, since 2000, bucked the trend of allowing IMF, American and other interference in how each of their own countries is governed.


I have mixed feelings about this documentary that covers Latin America and some of its political leaders of the last ten years.  And, I must admit, starting off  what I disliked was probably largely to do with what I dislike about American mainstream media (of which I consume very little).  But, I learned some things and I think that is important (and the goal of documentaries).  The first thing I learned is that Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela.  The second thing I learned was that chewing Coca leaves can help with altitude sickness (which would explain why they are a popular plant to cultivate if you live in the Andes mountains.)  I also learned that Evo Morales is the first indigenous person to be elected president in Bolivia.  (Which, considering that 70% of the Bolivian population is indigenous communities, that is a little sad.)  Additionally, I learned that prior to his election a law had been passed that made it illegal in Bolivia to catch rain water on your roof.


Towards the end, the show a clip of an interview with Kirchner from Argentina and he says something interesting things.  One of the things that he points out is that absolute power is bad and that you need to build collectively because one person, one country can’t solve all of the worlds problems.  And, I think that is true.

This documentary was only 77 minutes long and that is another benefit of it.  I learned some stuff and it wasn’t that long.  But, I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

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