dir. J. Michael Seyfert
Why the United States lost America
61 minutes, subtitled.
Americans consider happiness more important to them than money,
moral goodness and even going to heaven. Nevertheless their income has multiplied
over the last 25 years while that of Latin Americans has remained the same.
For over a century of invasions, interventions, destabilizations,
violence and chicanery
U.S. planners have counted on near monopolistic
access to the resources of Latin America.
That`s not true any longer.
If there is a core reason behind the `pink tide` that has swept
one left-leaning government after another into office in the region,
it is the resentment against the forced economics of the `Washington Consensus`
that has left 4 out of 5 people here living in poverty.
There are over 50 million street children in Latin America.
Some six million Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated,
“disappeared,” massacred or become refugees.
Privatization in Bolivia had reached such extremes that at one point even the collection
of rain water had been criminalized.
Reagan Sleaze Factor: In Guatemala, U.S. and Israeli-backed military and
civilian regimes exterminated 5% of that country`s population, primarily Mayan natives.
In 1994, Clinton launched Operation Gatekeeper and militarized the Mexican border that
had been rather porous political fiction since its establishment in 1848.
Not coincidentally in 1994 something else happened: NAFTA was implemented,
and there`s a connection: it was clearly anticipated that NAFTA would undermine Mexican
business and agriculture and cause substantial landflight into cities that could not provide
the jobs needed and so hundreds of thousands of peasants and workers would head for the
rich neighbor to the North.
Since 2008 Mexico has a 2 billion dollar agricultural trade deficit with the U.S. and
remittances now rank along with oil and tourism as Mexico's third biggest foreign
currency earner. Instead of exporting goods, it is exporting impoverished peasants
driven to bankruptcy by the free market.
As part of his own version of a good neighbor policy, G.W. Bush signed into law
the "Secure Fence Act of 2006" authorizing construction of new walls along parts of
the 2,000-mile-long border from California to Texas.
Each and every day migrant workers send home 200 million dollars to their families in
Latin America, by far exceeding the combined total of all direct foreign investment and aid.
Poverty, racism and war are not defining characteristics of the human condition.
They are all products of certain circumstances which could be altered.
OPPOSITE LAND takes us deep behind the wall and back. From treacherous Tijuana through a devastated
Central America to the exploding highlands of Bolivia, helping us understand with poignant
imagery why the United States lost America.
wins Best Director Award +
view TRAILER + watch film ONLINE +
Screenings upon request
Includes rare historic Bolivia footage contributed by pioneer documentary filmmaker Jorge Ruiz,
SMITHSONIAN Bicentennial Medal recipient.