Oscar-winning American filmmaker Oliver Stone called on the world to “Pray that we don’t have another military regime in Colombia,” El Heraldo reported Tuesday.
The filmmaker was speaking in Quito, Ecudador, where he stopped for an official visit as part of a tour to promote his recently released film, “South of the Border,” which portrays leftist leaders of Latin America.
“I was a soldier in Vietnam, I can tell you that from my experience one of the most demonic things in the world is to kill and terrorize civilians, I’ve never seen anything worse than the paramilitaries in Colombia,” Stone went on to say, adding that Colombia’s internal conflict can be partially blamed on the United States, “Believe me that the U.S. has a lot do to with this, a lot of these people were trained in the School of Americas.”
The School of Americas is a military training facility in the U.S. that has trained over 60,000 Latin American military officers, and has been heavily criticized for producing some of the regions most infamous dictators and human rights violators.
“Always when there are paramilitaries … around the world, and the U.S. has armed forces who are contractors, there will be a proliferation of violence for money.”
Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa lauded Stone for the film, saying “I hope for a thousand Oliver Stones to tell the world the entire truth!”
In 2008, Stone, alongside Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, travelled to the region to participate in the negotiations with Colombian guerrilla group and internationally-branded terrorist organization, the FARC, in order to secure for the release hostages.
Commenting on the episode and on the FARC, Stone was quoted as saying, “I do think that by the standards of Western civilization they [FARC] go too far; they kidnap innocent people. On the other hand, they’re fighting a desperate battle against highly financed, American-supported forces who have been terrorising the countryside for years and kill most of the people. FARC is fighting back as best it can and grabbing hostages is the fashion in which they can finance themselves and try to achieve their goals, which are difficult. They’re a peasant army; I see them as a Zapata-like army. I think they are heroic to fight for what they believe in and die for it, as was Castro in the hills of Cuba.”