His heroes are Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. He thinks both have been given a bum rap in the American media. He also thinks Venezuela is a democratic nation whose people enjoy the same freedoms as we do here in America. So when Oliver Stone brags about smuggling coca leaves into the United States
should that really be a surprise to anyone?
INTERVIEWER: For that ailment [altitude sickness], you appear onscreen chewing coca leaves. Is that high much different than having caffeine?
STONE: No, it's a mild, mild stimulus. You're at 12,000 feet, so you're nauseous and it's really hard to breathe. This opens the cells, you get better oxygen and you feel more relaxed. I was nauseous, and then I ended up playing soccer, that was sort of the point. They've been doing it for centuries down there. It's a normal thing to do. By the way, I brought coca leaves back. It's illegal in this country to have a coca leaf, but put it in a cup of tea and it's better for your health than coffee. But of course, there's more money for us in coffee as well as tobacco, so we'd rather do that for stimulation.
As a narco-journalist and documentary filmmaker myself, I too have been given the opportunity to smuggle contraband in and out of the United States. I've even been offered large sums of money to do it and can’t think of a single reason as to what would motivate me to agree. Putting coca leaves in your tea is like putting Crystal Meth in your orange juice -- not a real smart move.
I guess Stone will get a pass on that. But I would hope that if anyone ever publicly bragged about smuggling illegal substances into the United States for whatever reason, that they would at least earn a cursory investigation by ICE or the DEA.
And naturally the American media Stone accuses of being so horribly biased isn't interested in this story, either.
The Hollywood director is about to release a documentary entitled "South of the Border" that stars the leaders of South American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and the island of Cuba. Let me be clear, I have not seen this film and therefore this is not criticism aimed at the actual production. But in the aforementioned article Stone says he was given high level access to the likes of Chavez and Castro because he agreed to “tell the truth” from their perspective.
Hey, Ollie—you found out they were human beings. Congratulations.
In my work, I've interviewed some of the most wanted drug lords in the Western Hemisphere and had unprecedented access to a couple of them. I’ve been to their homes, met their families and attended their children’s weddings and baptisms. I’ve seen the “human” side of a drug lord and I can tell you without hesitation that doesn’t make these men “misunderstood good guys.”
They are still pedaling death and destruction to my countrymen as well as their own and hardly a day goes by that they don’t send someone to their grave. Yes, they are husbands, sons and brothers, but that’s only one aspect of their persona—they’re also ruthless, cold-blooded killers with little or no regard for human life outside that inner circle.
Hugo Chavez wishes nothing but ill-will for the United States of America. He is out for the destruction of our nation and will aid anyone with similar motives in doing the same. He sponsors terrorists
from Middle Eastern nations to come to Venezuela to learn the Spanish language and Latino customs so they can then be issued Venezuelan passports and enter into the U.S. from Mexico.
With all due respect, my advice to you Mr. Stone is to stick to what you know. Scripting your films allows you flexibility to make the outcome the way you want it and as you say in the article, “It's more important to tell a story that people can enjoy.”
However, “based on a true story” does not mean it’s the truth.
Oh and one more thing: Stop smuggling!