In an interview with CNN en Español’s Ana Pastor, actor Antonio Banderas lamented the power corporations have over political structures, arguing that government takeovers of corporations, “like Chavez did,” are the only solution.
“What other way is there?” the actor asked.
The interview, for Pastor’s program Face to Face this November, touched on topics from his acting work to family life, but it is Banderas’ political comments that are triggering a firestorm of criticism on the internet. Echoing the sentiments of the Occupy movement, Banderas tells Pastor that “you get the sense lately that, possible, in the whole world, we are not being governed by the people we voted for,” indicating that corporations are running governments. He additionally laments that the “lobbies” and corporate interests he believes are running these governments “don’t have to show their face” regardless of the consequences of their actions.
Having stated the problem, Pastor asked Banderas for a solution. “You break it like Chavez did in his time,” he responds. “You say, ‘the topic is over. I’m taking all these corporations and nationalizing them.'” He concludes asking, “What other way out is there?” He continues his praise for Chavez by calling this century a “post-democratic era,” and lamenting the inevitable corporate corruption of President Barack Obama. Noting that people expected a change upon his election, Banderas adds that he never had hope: “I said ‘no, no, no,’ because he is going to encounter reality.'”
Criticism from pro-democracy blogs, journalists, and other online commenters aside, those who stand to benefit from a celebrity commenting so immediately took to promoting the interview. Banderas’ comments are being proudly displayed on both Venezuelan and Cuban state media. The Venezuelan government needs all the positive press it can get, having recently granted President Nicolás Maduro decree powers that allow him to legislate from the executive to combat the “economic war” Maduro claims “bourgeois looters” have waged on the poor.
In actuality, Maduro’s economic policies have lead to shortages in everything from basic food products to toilet paper, despite the nation being a member of OPEC and rich in natural resources. Opposition leaders are also quick to remind the public that Maduro’s election victory is highly questionable at best, with many, including his opponent Henrique Capriles Radonski, alleging the government committed widespread election fraud.
The clip of Banderas’ comments via CNN (with an English-language transcript under the video) below:
Banderas: You get the sense lately that, possibly, in the whole world, we are not being governed by the people we voted for.
Pastor: Above them, there is something else.
Banderas: Of course.
Pastor: The markets.
Banderas: The markets, the lobbies, the corporations– there is a lot of hustle there. And, on top of that, people who do not have to show their face to take responsibility for what happens later in governments, in countries.
Pastor: But there is also consent, no? It forms part of the system, the inertia you were talking about. How do you break that inertia?
Banderas: You break it like Chavez did in his time. You say, ‘the topic is over. I’m taking all these corporations and nationalizing them.’ Where is there any other exit? In a time when we have to stand up, a post-democratic era, because really, you listen to Obama during his first campaign for legislature, even his second, and you think– people were saying, ‘this is going to change.’ And I said ‘no, no, no, because he is going to encounter reality.’ And he faced the reality of the markets.