Oliver Stone sits next to Bolivia's Morales at screening of documentary 'South of the Border', says U.S. people 'know nothing' about leftist leader.
COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA (JUNE 01, 2010) REUTERS - Oliver Stone said people in the U.S. 'know nothing' about Bolivian leader Evo Morales after a screening of his documentary 'South of the Border' in Cochabamba on Tuesday (June 02).
The film by Oscar-winner Stone focuses on how a generation of leftist leaders, led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, is seeking increased independence from U.S. cultural and economic domination in the region.
Stone, who also interviewed leaders in Paraguay, Ecuador, Argentina, Cuba and Brazil, visited Morales in January 2009. The two played soccer behind the presidential palace, chewed coca leaves and discussed the particulars of Morales' project to refound Bolivia in the name of the poor, indigenous majority.
Since taking over as president in 2006, Morales has nationalized several key industries in an effort to redistribute wealth. Morales has also been very critical of U.S. anti-drug policy in the country and has accused of the United States of leading destabilization campaigns against his government, a tiff that prompted Bolivia to throw out U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg in 2008.
Stone, who sat next to Morales at the screening, seeks to demonstrate how both Morales and Chavez has been unfairly demonized by the U.S. media.
"Believe me, American people do not know anything about Evo Morales, about the water revolt, the transformation of Bolivia, the suspension of trade relations with the United States, getting rid of the ambassador to Bolivia. They don't know anything about the coup in Venezuela in which the United States was involved 2002 against Chavez, they don't know anything about this. We have to start somewhere."
Stone encouraged both the leftist leaders to use the Internet as a way to circulate alternative information.
"We advise President Chavez and we would advise President Morales to keep getting the truth out there to the web. The web is your best weapon, people will read it, they read alternative media. They believe other things if they think for themselves," Stone said.
Chavez recently set up a Twitter account that immediately had thousands of followers.
The 62-year-old Stone has worried his movie won't get much play time in the U.S., where Chavez is often portrayed as a dangerous maverick who is a threat to security.