Thursday, April 20, 2006

Si, Se Puede

"Our Brand is Crisis" is a fascinating documentary about American political consultants' --- Greenberg Carville Shrum -- involvement in the Bolivian election in 2002. I saw it tonight in Santa Monica.

The American consultants worked for "Gino," a former President of Bolivia in the 90s seeking a return to office. They ran a campaign based on the theme Bolivia was "in crisis" and Gino was the candidate to get the country through the crisis.

I suppose what happened falls under the category of "be careful what you wish for" because Gino barely won the election and the "crisis" continued to grow to the point where he was forced to resign and flee the country.

Ultimately Evo Morales -- the first campesino to be President of Bolivia -- took office. He's been a major thorn in the Bush Administration's side in Latin America. He's also received notice for refusing to wear a tie in office, instead sticking to a simple striped sweater.

The American Ambassador to Bolivia comes off looking like a fool for hot-footing it into the 2002 election by comparing Morales to Osama bin Laden.

I thought the American political consultants, including James Carville, seemed like pretty reasonable guys in the film. But perhaps I'm a little biased -- the guy sitting behind me actually cussed out one of the consultants near the end of the movie.

The footage of political rallies in Bolivia was very impressive. Thousands and thousands of people waving rally flags and chanting, "si, se puede." Although I suppose that could have been filmed in downtown Los Angeles -- but that's a whole different topic.
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