Friday, March 19, 2010

100 años - parte tres

I know, very late post. However, better late than never.

I was really interested in what we were talking about today in class but was so groggy that I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say. Now I have a somewhat better idea. We were discussing the political aspect of magical realism in 100 años as well as in the other books we have read. Whether or not this has anything to do with history being subjective (it is because history writing is inevitably subjective) or not, does not really matter.

How does GGM make a commentary on Latin American politics with his inclusion of the Banana Massacre? I will get to that in a minute.

FIrst, what immediately came to mind was the documentary about the 2002 attempted coup d'état on President Hugo Chavez called La revolución no será transmitida (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised). To summarize the film, I'm going to borrow from wikipedia because I saw the movie a couple years ago. What happened in a nutshell is this:

Chavez aims to redistribute Venezuela's oil wealth by nationalizing the oil companies. In April 2002, a group of Chavez supporters gather outside the Presidential palace while a group of protestors march through the streets nearby. When the protester's march reaches the palace, shots ring out and civilians are killed. Some of Chávez's supporters begin firing in the direction they think the shots came from. A former private television journalist said selective footage of the incident was aired by the private media to make it look like Chávez's supporters had shot at unarmed opposition marchers. Meanwhile, the state television channel is shut down and pressure is put on Chavez to step down. The entire event spirals out of control and he does end up stepping down (for a few days before everything is sorted out) and the opposition leader takes his place.

The people in opposition of Chavez's reforms were undoubtedly connected to the private media of Venezuela. They manipulated footage of an event in order to get the president out of office. It shows the power of wealth and force over politics and reality. It also demonstrates their ability to manipulate public opinion. In a similar way Mr Brown and his soldiers manipulate the nation's public opinion by issuing false proclamations and killing anybody who knew otherwise with the cover of the night. GGM is without a doubt making a statement about the politics of Latin America. I think he wants us to ask ourselves: if we are not witnesses to the violence and injustices that happen to our brothers and sisters, can we pretend it did not happen? can we rely or allow people with wealth and arms to tell us the history of our people. GGM wants us to think about more than just this. however this is a start.


Siena said...

I've seen that same documentary about Venezuela and I like how you've compared parts of it to Mr. Brown's role in the novel. I agree that GGM's personal experiences with the politics in Latin America have clearly influenced the inclusion of the civil war and the massacre of the banana workers in Cien Anos de Soledad. Latin America has a long history of foreign interests and political and economic corruption (although it is by no means the only part of the world that has has these experiences).In this sense it is very logical that GGM has included political elements in this novel.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting link to the documentary, I will try to look it up ! Thanks Tessa.