SOUTH OF THE BORDER starts off with a pretty damning critique of how the right-wing media in the United States has demonized Chavez. To an extent, I agree- and frankly, I don’t how anyone could ever watch Fox News and expect unbiased reporting, as the whole thing is a right-wing sham. BUT, the problem with SOUTH OF THE BORDER is that Stone is just as bad as the media he criticizes, with the exception that instead of being right-wing, he’s left.
His cuddly portrayal of Chavez is downright shocking at times. All he does is follow Chavez around the country side, as he’s cheered on by loyal constituents (none of the opposition at home, or abroad is ever interviewed). Then he follows Chavez to his old home, has him goof around on an old bike, tell the story of his “heroic” rise to power. Never does Stone dare ask him anything but softball questions, so if you’re expecting Chavez to elaborate on his ties with Iran, and the way his elections have been fixed, look elsewhere.
Later, Stone examines how Chavez has changed the political tide in his neighboring countries as well, and while some of the policies are interesting, we never get a voice of dissent. It’s sad to see Stone being used as a puppet, as twenty years ago, he might have gone in and asked the tough question, and presented a balanced documentary.