DVD: South of the Border
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I’ve been fortunate to be able to make several films about North America’s neglected “backyard” –– Central and South America. The low budget, independently shot Salvador, about the U.S. involvement with the death squads of El Salvador, and starred James Woods in an Academy–nominated performance, released in 1986; this was followed by Comandante in 2003, and Looking for Fidel in 2004, both of these documentaries exploring Fidel Castro in one–on–one interviews. Each of these films has struggled to be distributed in North America.
I was invited to Venezuela to meet President Hugo Chávez for the first time during his aborted rescue mission of Colombian hostages, held by FARC, during Christmas of 2007. As is often the case, the man I met was not the man I’d read and heard about in the U.S. media. I was able to return in January 2009 to interview President Chávez in more depth.
Was Hugo Chávez really the anti–American force we’ve been told he is? Once we began our journey, we found ourselves going beyond Venezuela to several other countries, and interviewing seven Presidents in the region, telling a larger and even more compelling story, which has now become South of the Border.
Leader after leader seemed to be saying the same thing. They wanted to control their own resources, strengthen regional ties, be treated as equals with the U.S., and become financially independent of the International Monetary Fund. Based on our experiences in Iraq, Americans must question the role of our media in demonizing foreign leaders as our enemies. The consequences of this can be brutal. This is a continuing story. It is going on right now with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Hopefully, in our film, you’ll get to hear a far different side of the “official” story.