On April 11th, 2002, Irish documentarians Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain were in Venezuela, with the intention of making a movie about the nation's left-leaning (and Castro-inspired) democratic pre... more
On April 11th, 2002, Irish documentarians Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain were in Venezuela, with the intention of making a movie about the nation's left-leaning (and Castro-inspired) democratic president, Hugo Chavez, whose support comes mostly from the country's impoverished, who make up 80% of the population (versus past leaders who were often supported by the country's big money minority, like the petroleum industry). Although they did accomplish that, the film took a seriously unexpected turn when the filmmakers found themselves in the heart of a coup d'etat, trapped in the president's palace as Chavez's right-wing oligarchic opposition overthrew the leader. Chavez was able to return to power within 48 hours, buoyed by public support, but this film captures those frightening moments and days in which a nation's political future was fought over using both bullets and manipulation of the media. Venezuela's television networks, all owned by oil companies except for the state channel which the coup brought down, reported distorted interpretations of the coup, as proven by this movie's footage, which was then picked up by international news organizations like CNN. This movie also addresses what the White House thought about this coup in the world's fifth largest producer of oil (providing 14% of the United States' petroleum).