airdate July 2, 2010
Oscar- and Emmy-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone is known for writing and directing powerful and often controversial films. His credits include Midnight Express, Scarface, Platoon, JFK and W. The NYC native taught school in Vietnam and lived in Mexico. He’s a decorated Vietnam War vet who, after his discharge, studied filmmaking at NYU and began his career as a screenwriter in the late ’70s. His latest projects include the documentary South of the Border, the Wall Street sequel, Money Never Sleeps and a Showtime series on the history of the 20th century.
Tavis [Smiley]: What’s the danger of our writing off what’s happening in South America?…
[Oliver] Stone: Well, not only are we ignoring it, we’re actively working to get them out [the independent-from-US South American leaders – ed.]. We’re against the Kirchners; we’re against Lula da Silva in Brazil, although we’re definitely supporting the other candidates. There’s a big election coming up in Brazil this year. It’s very important.
We hope Lula’s successor will win, but I’ll bet the United States is betting on the other guy because he represents the central bankers. Wherever we can get our claws back in, by making them loans to the International Monetary Fund, any form of control. Whether it’s the war on drugs which is a big thing down there.
In Colombia, we have seven military bases. That’s our big ally in South America. They’ve been condemned by every other country in South America who are unified under this UNASUR arrangement now. They’ve condemned Colombia. That’s our ally. We have seven bases. What do we need seven bases there for, Tavis? It’s a war on drugs? What is the war on drugs?
Tavis: What’s most disturbed you about the lack of difference between the Bush policy in the region and the Obama policy in the region?
Stone: It’s a Bush light. You know, Obama has basically made a beautiful gesture in Trinidad. He reached out, they shook hands, he made a big deal about it in the United States, but he didn’t follow up with deeds. It was like his Cairo speech to the Muslims. It was a beautiful speech, but he didn’t follow up.
The biggest thing was this Colombian expansion of the military bases and also, the coup in Honduras is a big deal to them. Not to us because it’s a small country with bananas to us, but it was a crucial mandate for Obama. He failed the test. He didn’t do anything to get these thugs out.
Seven journalists have disappeared in Honduras since then, so it’s a serious business. You know, this is real human rights violations going on. This is not just you hear about Chavez. It’s no pattern of repression. So we support the bad guys.
You know, Hillary was down there a few weeks ago and there she was trying to separate Ecuador from Venezuela. She’s an agent of the old empire game. It’s a dead end for us. We keep overreaching. We want to control anybody who steps out of line, which is a regional power. Regional powers are, what, China, Russia.
In Turkey recently, when Turkey went into this Iran sanction deal, remember they got their head cut off and now they’re the bad guy. We’re fighting with Turkey. Also Brazil was criticized. These are regional powers. Venezuela with its oil – it’s got 500 hundred billion barrels of oil reserve – Venezuela is a big regional player. We’re making enemies of them. They’re not enemies to us.
We are saying – basically, you know what it is? The pact for the New American Century [Project for a New American Century, PNAC – ed.], remember from the 1990s, when Bush and Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz, wrote that pact about the American unilateral control of the world. We will brook the appearance. We will not allow for the emergence or any military or economic rival. I went into that in the W film I did on Bush.
This is our policy and, whatever Obama says, this is what he’s pursuing in Afghanistan. There’s been no real change in that policy. We have our empire; we are number one. We are the world’s policemen and we will not brook an interference in that. The tone is lighter; the words are lighter, but it’s a soft power.
The U.S. has knocked off so many reformers over the last hundred years, but they’ve all emerged independently. Except for Castro, they all went down, every single one from Guatemala, Panama, Brazil, Chile, constantly. This is the first time we have not been able to do anything. Hopefully, this is going to stay stable, but right now we’re fighting actively to get rid of them.