The plot of the Quantum of Solace makes reference to a real struggle carried out by the social movements of
A rusty pipe hangs from an improvised water tower, and drips miserably into the desert air. A crowd of simple-looking people in traditional Andean clothes, their dark faces furrowed with worry, surround it with empty buckets and containers, waiting for the water to come gushing out, but the pipe has run dry. They turn away in dismayed resignation.
This is one of the silent set-pieces in the new Bond film Quantum of Solace, set in
As in most Bond films, the ‘Bolivian’ extras (no footage was shot in
However, recent history in
One can’t help imagining an alternate version of the scene described above, which would more closely reflect the Bolivian reality. The conversations happening underneath the plaintive music might go as follows. ‘Compañeros’, an old lady might shout, ‘the transnational has taken our water! Something must be done!’ More voices rise in protest, ‘A march on the capital! We should blockade the road! Demand a meeting with the President! This cannot continue!’
In this astonishingly politically active country, this would be a standard response, not muted resignation. Grassroots-led protests stopped the privatisation of water in
As for attempts to topple his government and install a business-sympathetic autocrat, this would meet with short shrift in today’s South America, even if the depiction of the
After a wave of violence in September which various international bodies recognised as an attempted coup d’etat, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) threw their weight behind Morales in a resounding declaration of solidarity.
They recognised that he was recently affirmed in his post by 67 per cent of the popular vote, and stated that any attempt to destabilise or overthrow his government was anti-democratic and would not be tolerated.
When the villains in Quantum of Solace affirm ‘we have twenty neighbouring governments ready to recognise the incoming administration as legitimate’, it rings false.
Not only has the Morales government secured natural resources for the benefit of the Bolivian people, but it has also cultivated a strong base of regional support which provides a counterweight to interventionism from the
Isolated left-wing governments falling prey to US-backed coups only to be replaced with bloody dictatorships? Too bad the updated Bond didn’t take into account the political changes in
Republished from New Statesman