South of the Border (15)

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The Independent Culture

Oliver Stone's latest documentary aims to do for Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, what his 2004 Looking for Fidel did for Castro.

He positions Chavez at the apex of a new "Bolivarian" wave of emergent South American democracies – Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia – that are basically challenging the might of the US and the tentacular grip of the International Monetary Fund. While you may applaud his cocking a snook at the American media, it becomes clear that Stone is ill-equipped to conduct a serious political analysis of the continent. He gets amazing access to national leaders and yet, face to face with them, he doesn't even look interested in what they have to say. He's as earnest and self-important as John Pilger but without the reporter's nous. Did he really ask the President of Bolivia outside for a game of football? I suppose he must have – his own conversation had run dry.

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