martedì 24 novembre 2009

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THE THREAT (Italy, 86', 2008)
directors: Silvia Luzi, Luca Bellino
language: English sub, Spanish, Italian
country: Venezuela

In this eye-opening portret of Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution is depicted as a threat to the Venezuelan dream of a better life. With Chavez' content a camera crew is invited to capture some of his daily routine and to discuss his worldview. The question arises if, in our post-ideological times, socialism as a state ideology is still feasible. Violent deaths, collapsing hospitals, water shortages and the restriction of freedom of speech show the tensions within the Chavismo ideals. These problems exist on a daily basis, effecting people emotionally and physically. The Bolivarian Missions of social justice and anti-poverty seem to be difficult to implement in the complex societies of today.

Social Interest
Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998 promising change in the form of a Bolivarian Revolution. He wished to redistribute the wealth gained by the Venezuela oil fields to the lower social-economic groups. He invested in health, housing and educational programs modeling the Venezuelan society in a socialist fashion. "The Threat" shows positive responses as well as the negative results of the Bolivarian Missions. For example, some missions are a threat to the livelihood of immigrant communities of Italian and Portuguese descent. Readying themselves to leave the country, these communities leave an economic gap as well as a knowledge deficit in important industries. Also the water supply of many parts of the country is not sufficient after its decentralization process has been stalled. Also the increasing violence and the inefficiency of many hospitals increases the tensions in Venezuela. The contradictory character of the Bolivarian Revolution leaves an ambivalent feeling about the future of Venezuela under President Chavez.

Political Relevance
After Simon Bolivar struggled for independence, the political culture of Venezuela has been dominated by political turmoil and dictatorship. Until the mid-twentieth century military strongmen have been in power. After 1958 Venezuela has had several democratically elected governments and the oil reservoirs, the economic boom and the influx of immigrants from Spain, Italy and Portugal, created a diversified society. Although foreign relations with most Western countries have been friendly, the political relationship between the United States and Venezuela has worsened over the years. The Bolivarian Revolution has its impact not only domestically, but internationally as well. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) is an initiative to weaken the strength of the dollar in Latin America, creating a less dependent position of allied countries. The close ties of Hugo Chavez with Russia, Cuba, China and Iran also cause unrest among United States politicians. The Venezuelan international political role is mostly based on their large petroleum reserves and "The Threat" shows that this advantage seems to be the starting-point of the Bolivarian Missions.