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The War on Democracy (2007)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 15 June 2007 (UK)
Venezuela, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Salvador, Bolivia: people's struggle for democracy versus US imperialism in Latin America since the 1950s, backing coups and supporting dictatorships.


John Pilger


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Credited cast:
John Pilger ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Philip Agee ... Self
Salvador Allende ... Self (archive sound)
Jacobo Arbenz Jacobo Arbenz ... Self - President of Guatemala (archive footage)
George Bush ... Self (archive footage)
George W. Bush ... Self (archive footage)
Fidel Castro ... Self (archive footage)
Hugo Chávez ... Self
Duane Clarridge Duane Clarridge ... Self
Allen Dulles ... Self (archive footage)
John Foster Dulles ... Self (archive footage)
Ari Fleischer ... Self (archive footage)
Richard Helms ... Self (archive footage)
E. Howard Hunt ... Self (archive footage)
Henry Kissinger ... Self (archive footage)
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Award winning journalist John Pilger examines the role of Washington in America's manipulation of Latin American politics during the last 50 years leading up to the struggle by ordinary people to free themselves from poverty and racism. Since the mid 19th Century Latin America has been the 'backyard' of the US, a collection of mostly vassal states whose compliant and often brutal regimes have reinforced the 'invisibility' of their majority peoples. The film reveals similar CIA policies to be continuing in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. The rise of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez despite ongoing Washington backed efforts to unseat him in spite of his overwhelming mass popularity, is democratic in a way that we have forgotten or abandoned in the west. True Democracy being a solid 80% voter turnout in support of Chavez in over 6 elections. Written by David Blake

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Never believe anything until it is officially denied See more »




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Did You Know?


Narrator: 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.
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User Reviews

Must See 10 for 10 + Commentary
10 May 2008 | by hal-womackSee all my reviews

The bottom line for John Pilger's WAR ON DEMOCRACY documentary = Go See It! Then you can talk about it.

I am addressing these remarks in the first place to law-abiding people, as most sharply distinguished from war criminals. The definition of a crisis = a period in which, in order to abide by that law which serves justice only, one must be prepared to enforce it. This extraordinary duty occurs because the official agencies with their names in the upper case --DoJ, DoD & CIA, for example-- have been captured by a bloody tyranny which utterly perverts such basic political concepts as those of justice, defense and intelligence. (Spook HQ is now officially named the George Bush Center for Intelligence, which is located two doors down from the Wilt Chamberlain Home for Short People.) These general reflections very much pertain to the subject of Mr.Pilger's masterpiece.

I speak Spanish and briefly represented the U.S. State Department in Chile in 1964 & '65. In its hour & a half, WOD covers Latin America from El Salvador to Chile with a focus on Venezuela led by Hugo Chavez and a stop in Bolivia. For those new to this continent, WOD's an absolutely essential introduction. For those who already know it (among the group whom I'm addressing, please remember), they will be overjoyed to see an intelligent and artistically coherent story of their homelands on the Big Screen. We're talking about a place more than twice the area of the USA with more than half a billion people, hundreds of millions of whom are dirt poor and many of whom have had relatives murdered by thugs trained by the US Army at the "School of the Americas", which has recently changed its name out of embarrassment.

When Pilger says that the CIA puppet regime in Guatemala slew "thousands", he is grossly understating the case, since the best estimate's ~250,000. Naturally he spent more time in countries where it's safer to film. Once we understand that we should all bring everybody we know to see this movie, then we can acknowledge that it's an opening of the door to a vast realm. Many more such features need to be made even to begin to do justice to the material.

A criticism: In discussion with a Chilean physician who was a torture victim, Pilger uses a phrase about being "ensnared in fascism". IMHO he should simply forget the F word. As a matter of historical fact, Benito Mussolini, who created the concept of Fascism and led that Party in national power for a quarter of a century, had a lot more going for him than did the traitor Generals Rios Montt of Guatemala or Augusto Pinochet of Chile, to name only two of the dozens of US puppets in the region. The CIA's Guatemalan Genociderals in particular in their atrocities by far exceeded any acts of repression which Il Duce ever carried out in Italy. In other words, from Ronald Reagan until now the U.S. Government gives Fascism a bad name.

Anyone who wants to have a head's up 'tude toward such a big part of our human race will definitely want to check out John Pilger's well-informed portrait of the irresistibly rising forces of the Western Hemisphere. Alert supporters of Barack Obama, Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney will want to give thought to tying in WOD to their candidates' campaigns.

OTOH white supremacists & jingoes who think that slaughtering the families of foreigners is still cool, especially if they themselves can get a piece of the financial action, well, such "Chicago boys" as SonnaBush calls them in WOD, they will pan Pilger's product as skillfully as they can manage.

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UK | Australia



Release Date:

15 June 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

John Pilger: The War on Democracy See more »

Filming Locations:

Bolivia See more »


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (RCA Sound System)


Color (35 mm version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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