Film depicts fight against neoliberalism in Latin America

Issue 
El Caracazo poster.

Venezuelan ambassador to Australia Nelson Davila introduced the film El Caracazo: A day that shook a country at a public screening on February 27. The event was hosted by the Venezuelan embassy and the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).

Publicity for the film says: "Roman Chalbaud's docudrama El Caracazo recreates a series of events forever etched in the hearts and minds of those present, and which permanently altered the Venezuelan political landscape. On February 27, 1989, in Caracas, Venezuela, a series of citizen-based protests against a rise in bus ticket prices quickly erupted into an insurrection.

"In response, the government of Carlos Andres Perez brutally massacred hundreds of Venezuelan citizens. Chalbaud shapes this raw material into a visceral onscreen dramatisation. In the process, he sharply attacks the inhumanity of the Perez political regime and pays homage to those who lost their lives in the tragedy."

Davila told the audience: "For Venezuela, February 27 is a very important day. The following two-three days represented the first big popular response to neoliberal policies in Latin America.

"They involved several days of street battles, and many deaths. But the people continued to resist.

"Today this date is celebrated as a day of remembrance. February 27, 1989, saw the army repress the people, but also saw a section of the military envisage another path of action.

"They formed the Bolivarian Movement, which led to the military rebellion of 1992, commanded by [now President] Hugo Chavez. The 'Caracazo' was the beginning of the Venezuelan Revolution we see today.

"It represented the first awakening of the Venezuelan people, as well as a section of the armed forces, to the need to reject neoliberal government policies, and begin to struggle for a new course of social development.”