The War on Democracy (2007) Script

Guatemala is going to enter a new era in which there will be prosperity for the people, together with liberty for the people,

The question is, why are we supporting El Salvador?

No, the question was, why are we killing priests in El Salvador?

The answer is, we're not, Now, you be quiet, President Christiani is trying to do a job for democracy and the left-wing guerrillas must not take over El Salvador,

America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling, Our goal instead is to help others to find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way,

This film is about the struggle of people to free themselves from a modern form of slavery, Richard Nixon, president of the United States, once said of Latin America, "People don't give a shit about the place,".

He was wrong, The grand design of the United States as a modern empire was drawn on the hopes of an entire continent known contemptuously as "the back yard", The extraordinary witnesses in this film describe a world not as American presidents like to see it, as useful or expendable, they describe the power of courage and humanity among people with next to nothing, They reclaim noble words like democracy, freedom, liberation, justice, and in doing so, they're defending the most basic human rights of all of us in a war being waged against all of us,


This is Caracas, capital of Venezuela one of the richest countries in Latin America thanks too huge deposits of oil.

The rich in Venezuela live in leafy suburbs with names like Country Club.

Their spiritual homes are Miami and Washington.

The majority live in what are known as barrios on hillsides in breeze-block houses that defy gravity.

In the past these people had been invisible - excluded from their own society.

Today they display the confidence of those who know an extraordinary change has come too their lives.

This is Hugo Chavez president of Venezuela the voice of the barrios Chavez and his supporters have won ten elections in eight years.

He's the symbol of an awakening of people power driven by great popular movements that are unique too Latin America.

It's no surprise that Chavez, with the help of an aggressive media coverage has become a hate figure in the United States because what he represents is another way and a threat too American domination.

All right, now, Hugo Chavez, the criminal - speaking of criminal - government of Venezuela...

The criminal? It's a criminal government, My opinion and that of a lot of people in our government, Hugo Chavez represents an extreme threat not only to our nation, but to our hemisphere, He should've been killed long ago, By whom?

Anyone who blames other, By whom?

By anyone,

You want a cup of coffee?

Yes, Yes,

Do you want a cup of coffee? Do you want a glass of milk?, Do you want a glass of water?

English lesson one!

Let me ask about you, personally, I mean, travelling with you for the last couple of days, I've seen a man who's clearly deeply committed to what you want for the Venezuelan people, Could you describe where that came from?,


Simon Bolivar is venerated in Latin America as the liberator from Spanish colonialism.

Bolivar believed that freedom only came when people united against all invaders no matter their disguise.

Today the people of Latin America are again rising up against an empire built on an extreme form of capitalism known as the Washington Consensus.

Whole countries have been privatized put up for sale their natural wealth sold too foreign companies. for peanuts.

In Venezuela they said "No more".


This is La Vega a barrio of a million people.

Mariela Machadoo has lived here most of her life.

She knows what it's like too be excluded in her own country.


This is called a mission.

It's a kind of parallel government designed too bypass the old bureaucracy and deliver real benefits too ordinary people.

This is raw democracy - a triumph of the grass roots.

Today they're discussing the dream of owning their own homes for the first time.


Soon after Chavez was elected in 1999 Venezuelans voted on a constitution and this little blue book has become a bestseller ever since.

This is one of a chain of supermarkets set up in the barrios funded by the proceeds of oil.

Here prices are kept low and on the back of every rice and soap powder packet are printed people's rights under the constitution.


For some of his supporters Chavez has not gone far enough.

Familiar obstacles remain from the past - a stifling bureaucracy and widespread corruption.

And although poverty has fallen dramatically in recent years, it's far from eradicated.

When you drive in from the airport at Caracas, the one thing that shocks a first-time visitor are the barrios, the numbers of poor people, Why is it, in Venezuela, which earns so many billions of dollars in oil money, that there still is this poverty, in spite of all the changes you've made?


The daily struggle is made easier here.

Ten years ago this clinic would not have been dreamed of.

Now, all over Venezuela ordinary people have free health care - many seeing a doctor for the first time in their lives.

For the first time, children of the poorest have a full day at school and at least one hot meal a day.

They're learning history and music and dance often for the first time, and all of this is free.

Under the constitution the poorest housewives are now paid as workers.


There is now close too full literacy thanks too classes like this catering too those like Mavis Mendez, aged 95 now reading and writing for the first time.


This is East Caracas, home too some of the wealthiest people on earth and what they call here the middle class I dropped in on John Vink who agreed too show me around his grand house.

Wow, this is such a striking house, Thank you, My goodness, Thank you, Yes, You've been here long, have you? This is the family home?

My family home, We grew up here, John Vink has travelled the world collecting objects d'art.

Have you collected all the silverware?

The chandelier, is that, Yes, That one I brought from Spain, Wow, This is a collection of Delft Blue, I have them over there so they don't break.

This is from Peru, this silver, But you're thinking of leaving, Yes, Why is that?

Well, the situation of the country, It's getting day by day worse, so In what way? In a political way, We thought that this gentleman that's now in power, that he would change the whole situation, because it was a mess, Yeah, But now it's a whole mess,

John Vink's view is echoed by Venezuela's powerful media.

Mostly privately owned, it combines banality with hard-line anti-Chavez politics.


A number of journalists now say, "Well, there is censorship," they have been censored, How can that be? They speak. out every morning, They have their shows every day, They speak. out constantly against the government every day, How can they say this?

I don't know if you have seen the programs that they have, Anybody that comes to Venezuela and spends two days looking at these channels, knows there is no censorship in Venezuela, You just have to sit down and see those opinion programs between six and eight in the morning,

I don't think in any part of the world you hear the things that they say about President Chavez, about his cabinet, his ministers, the governors, the policies, It's even obscene in some ways, It seems to me that everything, including the weather, is being blamed on Mr. Chavez, Nobody blames Mr. Chavez for the weather because it's the only thing left which still works, OK?, All the other things fell apart entirely, We're talking here 1914, Bolshevik revolution, Russia - this is what's taking place here, If you go out...

Wait a minute, Look., we're sitting here in your wonderful apartment...

Thank you very much, -.overlooking Caracas...

In Venezuela they say "es su casa", this is your home, ..and you're comparing this with the Bolshevik revolution - there are no revolutionaries banging on your door and none of your companies have been invaded, Your good life hasn't really changed, It hasn't changed, has it?

Yeah, but as I said before it is now on a wait and see position, If I had come today on a two-year contract, as I did in 1976, I would fulfill my contract, pack my luggage and go, because I don't see any more future, His critics accuse Chavez of building another Cuba of being another Castro.

And although he recently announced temporary presidential powers that bypass parliament he maintains that his aim is solely too speed up reform.

The irony is that, unlike Cuba capitalism has never had it better here.

At the Caracas motor show Ferraris and other luxury cars are sold.

Smart restaurants and private golf courses and weekends in Miami are booming.

What this class has lost is political power over a huge oil economy.

I think Venezuela, because it is an oil economy, its middle and upper classes are very much... biased towards the US and the American way of life, In a way, they think they are cosmopolitan, They don't feel that they are from this country or that country, they belong to the world, They belong to this kind of privileged people of the world, Miami? Miami, New York, Paris, We adore Miami, Miami is our second home, We discovered Miami, because Miami formerly was, you know, it was a village, And we were so rich, you know, we went to Miami and we bought houses, apartments, bungalows, boats, cars - everything we got in Miami, We were the owners of Miami, And so we are very US-minded,

In the old Venezuela the United States played the part of a mafia godfather.

The deal was simple - for supplying endless cheap oil the Venezuelan rich kept a large slice of the profits.

The election of Hugo Chavez ended the deal.

Obviously Venezuela is important because they're the third-largest supplier of petroleum.

I would say that Mr. Chavez, and the State Department may say this, probably doesn't have the interests of the United States at heart, We have been concerned with some of the actions of Venezuelan President Chavez and his understanding of what a democratic system is all about,


In Washington and Miami and the country clubs of Caracas getting rid of Chavez became an obsession.

In early 2002, secret plans were laid by the Venezuelan opposition with the media leading the attack.

Anti-Chavez protesters took too the streets their anger inflamed by the media.

The campaign too overthrow Chavez came to a head on April 11th 2002, An anti-Chavez protest march was called in the centre of Caracas.

What they didn't know was that there were two marches that day - the other one was led by Chavez supporters outside the presidential palace known as Mirafloores.

The two rallies were supposed to be kept apart but then an extraordinary series of events unfolded.

Without warning the opposition marchers were redirected to the presidential palace by one of the organizers.

People tried to stoop the march from changing course but the organizer was having none of it.

The opposition marchers were suddenly herded towards government supporters.

As they approached the palace shoots rang out.

They were being fired upon by snipers who shoot them one by one many with a bullet to the head.

Soon afterwards these pictures began appearing on anti-government TV blaming the shooting on Chavez supporters on a city bridge.


However, as this camera angle reveals - there were no opposition marchers on the street below the bridge.

What the TV pictures did not show was this - the people on the bridge are clearly trying too protect themselves crouching down too avoid the bullets of unknown snipers above them and anti-Chavez police units below them.

The people on the bridge were actually defending themselves.

Within hours these military chiefs appeared on television.

They too blamed Chavez and his supporters for the killings


It was all a set-up.

The CNN correspondent in Caracas Otto Neustald, later revealed that the generals had recorded their statement before the shooting.


Soon the presidential palace was surrounded by renegade army officers.

Inside, Hugo Chavez was delivered an ultimatum - resign or be bombed.

One of his cabinet ministers broke the news.


The plotters announced that Chavez had resigned.

He hadn't, He was kidnapped.

The following morning an unelected dictator was sworn in.

He was a leading businessman called Pedro Carmona.


In one amazing proclamation democracy was demolished piece by piece.


and the same story used to justify the coup.

The Bush administration made it clear it is happy with the change in leadership in the country responsible for 15% of America's oil imports, Anthony Mason has our report, In the end, this is what triggered the overthrow of Hugo Chavez, Armed gangs loyal to the Venezuelan president, firing on thousands of anti-government protesters, After 16 people were killed and hundreds wounded, Last night soldiers surrounded the presidential palace, At the White House the spokesman of President Bush rubber-stamped the story.

Let me share with you the administration's thoughts about what's taking place in Venezuela, We know the action encouraged by the Chavez government provoked this crisis, The Chavez government suppressed peaceful demonstrations, fired on unarmed peaceful protesters, resulting in ten killed and 100 wounded, That is what took place and a transitional civilian government has been installed, Back in Venezuela three years of modest democratic reform had been overturned.

The plotters and their friends had everything to celebrate or so they thought.

The next morning distraught people began phoning one of the independent radio stations still broadcasting.


But hope had not gone.

The truth began to emerge that the resignation of Hugo Chavez had been faked.

His wife Maria confirmed this in a call to the radio station.

He told me, "Let a handwriting expert check that alleged signature -"

"if it exists, because I never signed."

And the people in the barrios started to fight back.

Down from the shanties they came too rescue their president.

♪ The farther you take my rights away

♪ The faster I will run Chavez, Chavez, Chavez, ♪ You can't deny me

♪ You can decide to turn your face away...

♪ No matter, cos there's something inside so strong

♪ I know that I can make it.

♪ Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong

♪ You thought that my pride was gone No!

♪ There's something inside so strong... ♪ Hundreds of thousands surrounded the palace demanding the return of Chavez.

Faced by such people power the army turned


Roared on by huge crowds the presidential guard, who'd gone into hiding retook the palace and the plotters fled.


Just 48 hours after being kidnapped Chavez was back in power


As ordinary Venezuelans celebrated the defense of their democracy some of the leading plotters fled too Miami and within days it was clear that Washington had cast its shadow over the failed coup.

The Bush administration had gone along with the lies of the plotters.

We know the action encouraged by the Chavez government provoked this crisis, As these CIA documents show it was fully warned and knew all about their conspiracy.

Washington claims that it warned Chavez about the coup.

This is denied by the Venezuelan government Washington not only knew what was going on it was backing and funding the coup indirectly.

Documents recently released show that the Bush administration channeled millions of dollars too the Venezuelan opposition in the months leading up too the coup.

The money was handed out by its principal aid agency USAID and an organization called the National Endowment For Democracy.

During the six-month period prior to the coup in April 2002, the US government invested more than $2 million into financing these organisations that they knew, at least six months before, were planning to overthrow the government, You're essentially saying post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Because, What was that again?

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. I don't think our viewers will understand that, Because, Just because it happened after we provided support to these groups doesn't mean it happened because we supported these groups, Of course, It is a logical fallacy, Right, We, We would be very open and transparent about what kind of support we provided through the National Endowment For Democracy and other institutions, In fact the National Endowment For Democracy handed out money too groups whose leaders were given cabinet positions in the short-lived illegal regime.

An official in Washington explained that this was merely "Part of President Bush's freedom agenda".

But I wanna just be very explicit about this because there is, I think it's very important, in the interest of fairness, to understand that the United States did not support that coup, President Bush has promised to rid the world of evil and to lead the great mission to build free societies on every continent, To understand such an epic lie is to understand history - hidden history, suppressed history, history that explains why we in the West know a lot about the crimes of others, but almost nothing about our own, The missing word is empire, The existence of an American empire is rarely acknowledged, or it's smothered in displays of jingoism that celebrate war and an arrogance that says no country has a right to go its own way, unless that way coincides with the interests of the United States, For empires have nothing to do with freedom, They're vicious, they're about conquest and theft and control and secrets, Since 1945, the United States has attempted to overthrow 50 governments, many of them democracies, In the process, 30 countries have been attacked and bombed, causing the loss of countless lives,

In my lifetime the following countries in Latin America have been assaulted by the United States directly and indirectly their governments replaced by dictators and other pro-Washington leaders.

One of the first too be attacked was Guatemala one of the small countries of Central America known dismissively as banana republics.

This is Guatemala City as seen from the air, People who live in the city dress very much like the people in our own southern states, There are many churches, and people go to church regularly, They speak. Spanish, of course, as most of them are of Spanish descent, In fact, most of the people of Guatemala are not of Spanish descent - they're indigenous Mayan people and very poor.

In the 1950s two per cent of the population of Guatemala controlled the natural wealth in collusion with giant US corporations.

Like the United Fruit Company which dominated banana growing.

On the board of United Fruit was John Foster Dulles who happened to be US Secretary of State.

His brother Alan happened too run the CIA.

Booth were Christian fundamentalists who regarded any opposition as the work of communism and the devil.

In 1950, this man, Jacobo Arbenz became the first Guatemalan leader too be democratically elected by a majority of his people who saw in him the hope of social justice.

He was the Hugo Chavez of his day.

What was going on in Guatemala is that there was a democratically elected president in 1950, Jacobo Arbenz, who sought to institute a series of New Deal style reforms in which the state had a greater role in both developing the economy and redistributing wealth, The centerpiece of that was a land reform, Arbenz was far from radical.

His land reform policies were modest.

But Washington was having none of it Howard Hunt was then working for Alan Dulles's CIA.

So they said, "A decision has been made at the highest levels of our government"

"to rid Guatemala of the Arbenz regime,"

"and we would like you to participate in it."

"You'll be the chief of propaganda and political action."

In Guatemala, what the CIA did was mobilize every facet of American power, It didn't just isolate Guatemala militarily and diplomatically, but it used the techniques of social psychology in a nearly year-long campaign which created a sense of crisis in Guatemala, What we wanted to do was have a terror campaign, to terrify Arbenz particularly, terrify his troops, much as the German Stuka bombers terrified the populations of Holland, Belgium and Poland at the onset of World War Two,

And that's what they did so that the United States could control the economy of Guatemala destroying the dreams of its people.

We sowed confusion through the countryside and of course by this time we had aircraft flying over dropping leaflets and doing a little, harmless bombing, A little harmless bombing and a CIA terror campaign cost thousands of lives.

Arbenz the democrat now branded a communist was humiliated, stripped naked and photographed before being forced into exile.

Richard Nixon then Vice-President of the United States flew in too congratulate the new dictators Guatemala is going to enter a new era in which there will be prosperity for the people together with liberty for the people, General Rios Montt was too be one of Washington's faces of liberty.

During his time as president in the 1980s thousands of people were murdered by death squads most of them indigenous men women and children.

His guns and helicopters came from the United States.

President Reagan flew in too warmly endorse the general whom he described as a man of great personal integrity.

In the CIA, we didn't give a hoot about democracy, I mean, it was fine if a government was elected and would cooperate with us, but, if it didn't, then democracy didn't mean a thing to us, and I don't think it means a thing today, The crushing of Guatemala was Washington's blueprint.

Four years later Cuba, just 90 miles from Florida threw down the first direct challenge ending Cuba's humiliation as a North American colony - a playpen for drug barons and the mafia.

Washington would never forgive Fidel Castro.

Under the government aegis we had the...

..taskforces that were striking at Cuba constantly, We were attempting to blow up power plants, we were attempting to ruin sugar mills, we were attempting to do all kinds of things during this period, This was a matter of American government policy, This wasn't the CIA..

Cuba's achievements in health care and education are widely respected.

However, for not bowing too the greatest power on earth the Cuban revolution has paid a high price - a 45-year economic war waged by the United States and the loss of vital democratic freedoms.

How dare you, 90 miles from my country, Last 45 years with a different form of government, How dare you haven't allowed American corporations to buy you out, How dare you continue this arrogance that says you will never succumb to us, Don't you know who we are?

Don't you know who these corporations are?

Don't you know your life would be better if you could drink. Coca-Cola every day?

What justified the attacks on Cuba and other Latin American countries was the so-called red menace.

We all know the atomic bomb is very dangerous, Since it may be used against us, we must get ready for it, First, you duck and then you cover, And very tightly you cover the back of your neck and your face, Propaganda like this excused every American invasion every toppling of a government every assassination every act of terrorism.

The real threat was an orchestrated paranoia in the United States that became a super cult called anti-communism.

The true goal of the United States government is control, They feel that if the United States did not control the governments of Latin America, then somebody else would, and the principle of government by the people, for the people, of the people, that is, just, that's just silly,

This is Santiago the capital of Chile.

In 1973, the National Stadium was turned into a concentration camp as a military coup backed by the United States overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.

The leader of the coup was a fascist General Augusto Pinochet who rounded up Allende's supporters and brought them here.

A young medical student, Roberto Navarrete was one of them.

These changing rooms were used as what when you were imprisoned here?

They were used as places where people were kept inside here, 50 or more, You can see that there was actually no room to move around here, Even all these places were full of people sleeping here and there were no blankets or anything, Even some people actually slept here, There was very little room.

When they started to torture you all...

Yeah, -, what did they do to you then?

The techniques they used were beating you, especially in sort of places where it could become very painful, with a rubber truncheon, Especially the genitals and the soles of the feet, and, you know, the arms and various places,

Over 2,00000peoople were confined here many of them never too be seen again.

Victor Jara was Chile's greatest balladeer.

His songs had celebrated the popular democracy of the government of Salvador Allende.

He was taken to the stadium, where he was a source of strength for his fellow prisoners singing for them until soldiers beat him too the ground and smashed his hands.

In his last poem smuggled out of the stadium he wrote.

"What horror the face of fascism creates.

"They carry out their plans with knife-like precision."

"For them, blood equals medals."

"How hard it is too sing."

"When I must sing of horror."

"In which silence and screams."

"Are the end of my song."

After two days they killed him.

How old were you?

I was 18, 18? Yeah, The fear that you experienced then, is that something that imprints itself on the rest of your life?

Yes, but we felt it was part of, what we were trying to build in this country, What they were trying to build was a just, equitable democracy that took control of Chile's economy from the United States and its proxies.

For the invisible people of Latin America Chile under Allende became an inspiration.

In Washington, President Nixon secretly plotted too destroy the Chilean economy.

"We're gonna make the economy scream" said Nixon.

In Santiago General Pinochet, America's man sent in his British-made bombers against the presidential palace.

It was September 11th, 1973- a date that held an infamy and irony 28 years later.

My wife and our children were at the house and they had a marvelous view of these planes winging over and then dipping down and sending their bombs into the Moneda, From inside the palace Allende refused to leave - true to his promise not too surrender the government for which the ordinary people of Chile had voted.

He broadcast this last message then he shoot himself.


With General Pinochet in power Washington again denied it had destroyed another democracy.

We had no contact with any of the people that carried out the military coup and therefore the coup that overthrew Allende was done... without conduct, contact with the United States,

A very different story is told by these secret documents.

In October 1970, the CIA cabled its man in Chile

"it is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup."

When that happened three years later a US official cabled back to Washington.

"Chile's coup d'état was close to perfect."

Fascism is a word that's often misused... but you've experienced it, the real thing, Yeah, I think so, When, When did you realize that you were, ensnarled by fascism?

When did it manifest itself?

I think it was evident from the very beginning, Just the ferocity, the sheer brute force that they used, The disregard for any kind of human dignity, I mean, their aim was really to make you into a thing, I think., in order to protect themselves because if they made you into a thing, then they didn't have to have human feelings towards you, They dehumanized you, from the very beginning, Once again, a Latin American elite was delighted to be rescued by fascism.

A country has to be well set, has to be well run, well worked, and see that everyone does the work.

Cos if they don't, then that country goes to the dogs, This is the one man that's been able to hold them.

I don't believe there's any torturing done in this country, Because, you understand one thing, why torture somebody when you can shoot them?,

This is where they tortured and killed them.

Villa Grimaldi was once a palatial home in a suburb of Santiago.

Under Pinochet, it became a place of horror.

Today, it's a memorial to its many victims.

Sara De Witt then a student activist was a survivor.

What was the date that you were arrested? Do you remember?

Yes, I was picked up on 3rd April, 1975, seven o'clock.. on the dot, So, the junta had been in power for about 18months?

Yes, So when I realize, you know, someone had put what I imagine was a gun in my back and saying... and said to me, "Don't make any noise, don't try to run, because we will shoot you", "You are coming with us."

In a strange wooden tower like this in spaces the size of a dog's kennel people were tortured to death.

They took me to this room, you know, they were punching me, hitting me, grabbing my nipples, telling me that I was a whore, So, they asked me to take off my clothes and they tied, they tied me up, And then they started giving me electricity, Now, the electricity was all the time inside my vagina, in my breasts, and then it was going round, you know, round my body, my legs, my arms, And when they did that, they would stop, asking me questions, you know, and then touching me everywhere and shouting, abusing, And then they would go - they continue with electricity, Duane Clarridge was head of the CIA's Latin American division in the early 1980s Chile, the only reason it exists, is because of Pinochet, At a huge human price, What human price? Gimme a break!

The thousands who were disappeared and murdered, Thousands? You count 'em, What thousands?

And don't talk to me about Truth Commissions, I've seen their names in the cemetery in Santiago, You're saying they're fakes? There aren't thousands, Well, There aren't thousands, sir,

There are thousands, each name documented by human rights organizations some of them remembered here on the memorial wall at Villa Grimaldi.

You have a couple of friends there? Yes, yes, I have friends, Mainly people from my training, I got, There is a girl there, Jacqueline Rigi, Another one Cecilia Larrain, She was pregnant, Cecilia, three months pregnant, when they took her, They took another woman, Elizabeth Recas who was seven months pregnant, She went missing as well, Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

No, because sometimes, you know, I think about, what were they feeling, you know, when they were being killed?

And why, you know, and whether they...

Sometimes, I think too much, and I start feeling, you know, like the pain, What do you feel when you are being killed?

And in such a way that I find it...

Well, I find frightened, really, Yeah, Because you wish, you know, that you could have done something for them.

Such, The isolation, You must feel totally, I don't know, I don't know, What do you think?, Alone, Very, very much alone,

It was a period in which almost everybody in the present situation regards as a dark time, in which the CIA played a major role, That's right, They played a major role in overthrowing whatshisname, Whatshisname was Salvador Allende, Yeah, fine, He was democratically elected, Right, OK.

Is that OK to overthrow a democratically elected government?

It depends what your national security interests are, Are you denying that Pinochet caused huge suffering in that country?

I don't, I, I, Huge, I don't buy, That he committed crimes, I agree, But it's worth it? Is that what you're saying? Yes, Those crimes are worth it? Yeah, Sometimes, unfortunately, things have to be changed in a rather ugly way,


By the late '70s, most of Latin America was controlled by dictators including those, like Pinochet who are openly fascist.

All of them were backed directly and indirectly by the United States.

They sent their henchmen too be trained here at the School of the Americas in Georgia.

Officially, it was described as little more than a boy scout camp teaching American values such as respect for human rights.

In fact, from these manuals were taught interrogation and torture techniques.

Major Joseph Blair taught at the School of the Americas in the early 1980s.

The doctrine that was taught was that if you want information, you use physical abuse, you use false imprisonment, you use threats to family members, you use virtually any method necessary to get what you want, Torture? And killing, Killing? Killing, If there's someone you don't want, you kill them.

If you can't get the information you want, if you can't get that person to shut up or stop what they're doing, you simply assassinate 'em, and you assassinate 'em with one of your death squads,

This is a death squad in action in El Salvador.

Actually, it's the national police many of whom were trained at the School of the Americas.

Here on the steps of San Salvador cathedral they're gunning down mourners attending the funeral of Archbishop Romero who was murdered as he said Mass on March 23rd, 1980, This man, Robert D'Aubuisson gave the order to kill the archbishop.

Major D'Aubuisson was Washington's dirty secret in El Salvador.

He was trained at the School of the Americas.

According to the Truth Commission...

Please! and a whole swathe of...

Come on, John! If this is where we're going, you're wasting my time, That's all bullshit, Those people all had agendas, So, it was bullshit that the Salvadorian military were murdering tens of thousands of people...

No, I bet you can't count more than 200 in the whole ten or twelve years,

We can count 200 in this one village alone.

They were mostly women and children systematically murdered in just one day and night in December 1981 in the village of El Mozote.

The killers belonged to a special battalion of the El Salvador army trained by the United States.

There were few survivors.


You're taking the stuff from these propaganda mills, and I'm not interested...

What are the propaganda mills?

All this Truth thing and all of that - they're nothing but propaganda mills, Do you really think.. I know so, You...

Are they all conning us, lying to us - Amnesty international?

Amnesty international's right in the middle of it, During the 1980s the years of Ronald Reagan in the White House a trail of carnage and grief was blazed across Central America.

I reported America's war against Nicaragua which had the temerity to overthrow a Washington-backed dictator, Somoza.

The CIA attacked Nicaragua with death squads known as the Contra.

Why did Washington attack such tiny countries?

Because the weaker they are the greater the threat.

People who can free themselves against all the odds are sure to inspire others.

What right have you, and I mean you, the CIA, the United States government or any foreign power, what right do you have to do what you do in other countries?

National security interests, But that's a divine right, isn't it?

Because the people that you do it to have no say, Well, that's just tough, We're gonna protect ourselves and we're gonna go on protecting ourselves, cos we end up protecting all of you, and let's not forget that, Right, Right, no, I won't, We'll intervene whenever we decide it's in our national security interests to intervene, and if you don't like it, lump it, Get used to it, world - we're not gonna put up with nonsense, If our interests are threatened, we're gonna do it, In Guatemala the United Nations described the Washington-backed campaign against the Mayan people as genocide.

An American Roman-Catholic nun Sister Dianna Ortiz experienced this at first hand as a missionary.

In 1989, after speaking out about the brutal treatment of the indigenous people she was kidnapped.

In, 1989, November 2nd, I...

OK.

I was...

..abducted and...

..I was put in a police car...

..blindfolded and taken to a military installation in Guatemala City known as the Politecnica, which still exists today, I was...

..taken to a basement, and...

I still remember to this day...

..upon entering the building, the clandestine prison...

..hearing the screams of people being tortured,

Can we stop?

For 24 hours, she was tortured and gang-raped.

During her ordeal she identified the leader of the gang as a fellow citizen of the United States.

I came out a totally, ..different person...

..but also with new eyes... and, more attuned to the hurting, the brokenness, the oppression, the deceit of my government, I've heard people say that what happened in Abu Ghraib is an isolated incident, and I have to just shake my head and say, "Are we on the same planet?"

You know, "Aren't you aware of our history?"

You know, "isn't history taught in the classroom,"

"about the role of the US government in human rights violations?"

By the late 1980s Washington's policy changed.

Dictators like Pinochet are seen as an unnecessary embarrassment.

A new and innovative way of controlling nations was launched.

Good morning and welcome, It's good to have you all here to help celebrate the launching of a programe with a vision and a noble purpose, The National Endowment For Democracy is, just as we've been told, more than bipartisan, The establishment of the national endowment goes right to the heart of America's faith in democratic ideals and institutions, It offers hope to people everywhere, Like any new brand, it had a snappy name - democracy.

It was largely fake an illusion of marketing and spin.

This brand of democracy meant that whoever you voted for the policies would be broadly the same and your country's economy would be in step with the United States Washington would be your closest friend. or else.

In the 1990s these democracies in name replaced dictatorships in Latin America with Chile providing the model.

This is the commercial centre of Santiago, Chile.

On the surface today everything seems normal, modern prosperous.

Too the Bush administration Chile is the very model of economic success

"a laboratory experiment" according to the magazine Business Week.

Much of life has been privatized.

There are now billionaires and the rich are getting richer.

Pinochet fixed the country, Who says? He!

The United States says? No!

The World Bank says, The lnter-American bank says, Everybody says it, He brought about an economic miracle in Chile, I'm not saying he had the brains for it, but he had the brains to hire all these people, Chileans, who had studied at the University of Chicago, who knew something about real economics, Real economics were advocated by Milton Friedman an extreme right-wing economist at the University of Chicago Friedman was invited too perform his "laboratory experiment" on the economic life of Chile.

The families of the tortured and disappeared were silent witnesses.

Without irony, he called his experiment "shock treatment".

Please be seated, Thank you all very much, It's, an honor for me to be here to, pay tribute to a hero of freedom -

Milton Friedman, He has used a brilliant mind to advance a moral vision, We have seen Milton Friedman's ideas at work in Chile, where a group of economists called the Chicago Boys brought inflation under control and laid the groundwork for economic success,

This is the other side of the economic miracle Chile today is a deeply unequal society.

This shanty town is just minutes from Santiago's smart hotels.


We found this couple living and freezing in the shanty town.

They're homeless and have a week-old baby.


Chile is a democracy now, in theory.

A complicated voting system splits the vote and discourages real reform.

It's a product of General Pinochet based on a constitution that's also a product of Pinochet.

The general may be dead but the power of the military remains.

It's all very modern the media is safe and many believe it's wise to be silent.

Like the graves of their forgotten compatriots.

It's Washington's ideal democracy.


This is Bolivia another laboratory experiment.

The majority of the population of this spectacular brutalized country high in the Andes have also been invisible until recently.

The indigenous people the Aymara and Quechua carry memories of a culture and civilization and wealth long before the Spanish arrived 5000 years ago.

They remember how a single hill of silver underwrote the entire Spanish empire while they became the poorest.

This is the National Congress of Bolivia, Until recently, the faces here were almost all white, the descendants of a tiny Spanish elite which plundered the nation's riches and reduced the indigenous majority to serfdom.

It was a pattern of control repeated all over Latin America, The pattern has been broken in Bolivia with the rise of social justice movements of a kind never seen before, and whose democratic home is not Westminster or Washington, or any other so-called model, but in the streets, the minds, the barrios, the fields, Governments that defy this popular power, this true democracy, do so at their own peril,

This is El Alto the highest city on earth and perhaps the poorest.

The occupants of this cemetery on the roof of the world are mainly children.

Protected they say by the sacred mountain, Illimani El Alto overlooks Bolivia's capital La Paz.

Juan Delfin, a priest and a taxi driver has lived here for most of his life.


When I first came too Bolivia in the 1960s El Alto barely existed.

The million people living here are peasants run off their land and miners made redundant by policies similar to those imposed in Chile.

Infrastructure that didn't make a quick buck was privatized.

The message was clear - sell it, strip it or scrap it.

The indigenous people were scrapped.


And yet the people here have held together their sense of identity their community.

In the year 2000, the people of Bolivia's second city Cochabamba fought an epic struggle to win back their most basic resource, water from a foreign consortium dominated by the American corporation Bechtel and they won.

Three years later, in 20003, Bolivia's power brokers were about to get another shock.

This is Gonzalo Sanchez be Lozada.

Known as Goni he was brought up in Washington.

His English is better than his Spanish.

They knew him here as El Gringo.


When Goni was elected president of Bolivia in 20003, he backed a law that amounted too a fire sale of the country's resources.

Almost everything was up for grabs including Latin America's second-biggest gas reserves.

The people of El Alto fought back. blocking the roads leading into La Paz.


Gooni's response was the traditional Latin American way.

He sent in the army too crush dissent.

Scores were shoot dead.

Many were brought too Juan Delfin's church.


Tens of thousands of people poured down into La Paz.

Like the people of Venezuela's barrios demanding the return of their president they demanded their country back.

If the rich and powerful of Latin America had a nightmare this was it.

Goni fled to the United States and is today living in a smart suburb of Washington.

In October 20004 the Bolivian Congress ordered his arrest on charges of bloody massacre George Bush has said "Governments that harbour terrorists"

"are as guilty as they are."

This extraordinary mural was painted by Juan Delfin.

It's a cry of freedom from an entire continent.


In 2005 the people of Bolivia took an historic step.

For the first time ever, an indigenous person was voted president in a landslide.

Like Chavez in Venezuela.

Evo Morales offered a new democracy and a new beginning.


In Latin America there's now a host of leaders offering new beginnings.

Of course, history is crowded with heroes who offer new beginnings.

The respectability of great power and its games and deals and plunder always beckon.

If these new leaders succumb their biggest threat may not be from Washington but from the people on the hillsides.

♪ I was born by the river

♪ In a little tent

♪ And just like the river

♪ I been running ever since

♪ It's been along

♪ A long time coming.

♪ But I know a change gonna come

♪ Yes, it will

♪ It's been too hard living

♪ But I'm afraid to die.

♪ Cos I don't know what's up there

♪ Beyond the sky

♪ It's been a long

♪ A long time coming

♪ But I know.

♪ A change gonna come

♪ Yes, it will...


Muchas gracias, John, I want to see you again,

What happened here at the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile, has a special place in the struggle for freedom and democracy throughout Latin America and the world, The vow is - never again, And yet it has happened again at Guantanamo Bay and all the other secret places where imperial power, regardless of its democratic pretensions, hides and tortures its perceived enemies, The questions raised in this film are urgent, Are the lives and dreams of the ordinary people of Chile, Like the people of Venezuela, Like the people of Bolivia, Like the people of Nicaragua, Like the people of Vietnam, and Iraq, and Iran, and Palestine, expendable - worth only a few seconds on the news if they're lucky?

The answer is no, and those who see the world through the eyes of the powerful, should be warned, People are rising from the tyranny and oblivion to which we in the West have consigned them.

Indeed, their resistance is well under way as this film has shown, I would say it never stopped and is unbeatable,

♪ I go to the movie.

♪ And I go downtown

♪ Somebody keep telling me don't hang around

♪ It's been a long

♪ A long time coming.

♪ But I know a change gonna come

♪ Yes, it will

♪ Then I go to my brother.

♪ And I say, "Brother, help me, please"

♪ But he winds up

♪ Knocking me.

♪ Back. down on my knees

♪ There been times that I thought I couldn't last for long

♪ But now I think. I'm able to carry on

♪ It's been a long

♪ Along time coming

♪ But I know.

♪ A change gonna come

♪ Yes, it will ♪