Ken Loach's screenwriter on Nicaragua

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Apr 17 11:20:34 MDT 1996

Ken Loach is working on a new movie about Nicaragua. An article about the
making of the film appeared in a recent issue of the Village Voice, a
liberal New York newsweekly, that implied that the Sandinistas were the
victims of their own incompetence. Chamorro's victory was seen as a mandate
for a return to normalcy. Paul Laverty, Loach's screenwriter, wrote the

"Two simple points might ease Joe Hooper's [author of the article]
bafflement about the forthcoming Nicaraguan elections. They seem to
have escaped his conversations with Sergio Ramirez and Ernesto
Cardenal, as recounted in his piece on the making of the director Ken
Loach and the film provisionally titled "Carla's Song", but they were
certainly stuffed down my throat by several Managuan taxi drivers.

As one taxi driver emphasized: 'If you upset the gringos you just don't
survive. Nobody has the stomach for another war.' The Monroe
Doctrine is still alive and kicking, and this election too will be played
out against the backdrop of U.S. muscle.

Secondly, every Nicaraguan owes an international debt of $2600 a
year--in a country where the average annual income is $250. Bluntly,
modern-day slavery by memorandum. Any prospective government in
such circumstances may obtain office, but never power.

Implicit in Hooper's summary of Loach as an 'elegist of the lost cause,
the noble failure' is an infuriating confusion and rewriting of history.
Nicaragua is not a 'noble failure.' The U.S. spent more than $1 billion
over 10 years, coordinated by some of its most talented and best
educated citizens, systematically tearing it apart. It was not a 'lost
cause' as if inevitably imploding by its own deficiency, but a victim of
bloody pulverization.

Kundera wrote, 'The struggle of man against power is the struggle of
memory against forgetting.' On the flight to Nicaragua to shoot the
film, I read an article in Forbes magazine written by Caspar
Weinberger, who, in support of the B-2 Stealth bomber program ($566
million each), quoted General John Loh, former head of the Air
Combat Command, who said, 'I see the B-2 as the centerpiece of...a
strategy that places increasing importance on projecting immediate,
responsive power from the U.S. to a regional crisis anywhere in the

Most human suffering is not caused by accident, but by a huge
investment of resources and careful future planning."

Louis Proyect

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