The third film in the Foreign Policy In Focus Summer Film Series this year is Cocalero, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at Sundance. Please join us and our guest speaker Sanho Tree, Fellow and Director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Recently, the United States has directed its war on drugs against Bolivian coca-growing regions, and the Bolivian government has attempted to eradicate coca crops, devastating the livelihood of Indigenous people who cultivate it. In response, the farmers formed a powerful union. Their leader is the Aymara Indian Evo Morales, and in 2005 this unwavering, unpretentious socialist made an historic bid for the presidency. A lively story about geopolitics, people’s movements, Indigenous culture, and one man’s impressive determination, Cocalero closely follows Evo’s campaign, getting up close and personal with the candidate and the union organization backing him, while presenting critical views of both. What makes Evo so fascinating is how unlikely a candidate he is. A relaxed 40-something bachelor who sports blue jeans and sneakers and lives in a one-room house, he drinks beer with his cronies and goes swimming in his underwear. Yet he moves effortlessly from formal fund-raising dinner to mass rally, charismatically proposing the redistribution of wealth, renationalization of industries, and legalization of coca products. Not surprisingly, Evo’s populist platform elicits strong responses. After he addresses Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez as “Commandante,” Bolivian TV questions whether Evo is on Chavez’s payroll, and his presence at an airport elicits racist epithets. But Evo, defender of Bolivia’s first people, wins by an unprecedented majority. Cocalero offers fresh insight into big political changes afoot in Latin America.
This film series is co-sponsored by Busboys and Poets Restaurant and the Progressive Intern Network.
Calendar of Films:
Taxi to the Dark Side
*Best Documentary – Academy Award
Thursday, July 3
Speakers: Farrah Hassen, Newman Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
and Andy Shallal, Iraqi Voices for Peace and Owner of Busboys and Poets
*Best Documentary – Philadelphia Film Festival
Friday, July 11
Speaker: Marcus Raskin, Co-Founder and Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
*Nominated, Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary – Sundance
Friday, July 18
Speaker: Sanho Tree, Fellow and Director of Drug Policy Project, Institute for Policy Studies
Body Of War
*Best Documentary – Hampton International Film Festival and Best Documentary – National Board of Review*
Friday, July 25
Speaker: Geoff Millard, Iraq Veterans Against the War
*Outstanding Achievement in Documentary – Tribeca Film Festival and Audience Award for Best Documentary – Barcelona International Women’s Film Festival
Thursday, July 31
Speakers: Sarah Anderson, Fellow and Director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and Manuel Perez Rocha, Associate Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
Foreign Policy In Focus is a network for research, analysis and action that brings together more than 600 scholars, advocates and activists who strive to make the United States a more responsible global partner. It is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington.
For more than four decades, the Institute for Policy Studies has transformed ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment. It is a progressive multi-issue think tank.