While presenting his latest film “Savages” in Los Angeles last Friday, director Oliver Stone had some less-than-kind words to share about Mexican president Felipe Calderón.
"Calderón is a disaster. He was equivalent to George Bush. It's a shame because he brought what George Bush brought to this country, he brought a nightmare to Mexico by declaring war on these guys. Four cartels became seven cartels and there is more violence. It's like a civil war," the director said Friday according to Fox News Latino.
Known for his controversial political commentaries--in interviews as well as in his movies--Stone blamed the Mexican president for being responsible for the "nightmare" Mexico is going through, referring to the country's vicious drug war.
Calderón, who was elected in 2006, militarized the drug conflict and commanded thousands of federal troops to combat the drug cartels. While he succeeded in some of the killings and arrests of many drug kingpins, the conflict turned more savage than ever before. The war against Mexico's drug cartels, has led to some of the deadliest and most atrocious crimes ever committed in the country's history. Thousands of civilians have been killed.
The drug war in Mexico has claimed more than 50,000 lives since 2006, according to the NY Times.
The Mexican leader is due to stand down after his country's general presidential election on Sunday July 1st.
Stone’s new movie “Savages," an adaptation of the 2010 novel under the same name by Don Winslow, is closely intertwined with the Mexican drug war.
It’s the story of two California pot growers who must confront a Mexican drug cartel in order to rescue their abducted friend. The hippie-Californians are played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson and the missing friend is played by Blake Lively. Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro also star in the film.
Prior to his comment about Calderón, the film-maker raised eye-brows when he called former Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe's administration “a joke.”
"Uribe is a bit like everybody else that existed on our side forever; there's one hundred Uribes out there, “ Stone said according to Colombia Reports a Colombian online English-language news source. “He's not going to go down as distinguished in any way in the history books - except as collaborator with America. We gave him seven billion f***ing dollars and more people got killed in that country - next to Guatemala - than anywhere in South America."
And in 2009, controversy sparked from his documentary “South of The Border”, where Stone travelled across five countries in Latin America and delved into the complex politics of the region. According to the film’s description, the documentary aimed to show “the mainstream media’s misperception of South America.”
Stone interviewed seven Latin American presidents including Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Nėstor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador) and Raúl Castro (Cuba).
"South of The Border" was criticized for a lack of accuracy, by the NYTimes.
Stone responded to criticism saying “we are dealing with a big picture, and we don’t stop to go into a lot of the criticism and details of each country,” he said according to the NYTimes. “It’s a 101 introduction to a situation in South America that most Americans and Europeans don’t know about,” he added, because of “years and years of blighted journalism.
"Savages" is scheduled to premiere in the U.S. on July 6th.
This article has been updated to include further details about Oliver Stone's response to criticism about "South of The Border" inaccuracy.