Synopsis by Mark Deming
European imperialism in South America dates back hundreds of years, as explorers sought to take advantage of the land, resources and citizens of other lands. This has continued into the 21st Century and almost invariably has been to the detriment of the nations being exploited, who've found their rights and their property crushed by visitors from abroad. With this in mind, a growing number of South American leaders have set out to reclaim their sovereignty and function independently from the economic and political influence of the United States, Europe and other first world powers. Filmmaker Gonzalo Arijón examines the "free market" policies that nearly destroyed several South American economies and the new drive towards economic independence in the documentary Eyes Wide Open: Exploring Today's South America. Arijón's subjects include Evo Morales of Bolivia, who has nationalized many of the country's resources, and Néstor Kirchner, who is trying to restore Argentina to economic health by throwing off a number of policies forced upon them by the United States.