Send Suggestions to

Cono Sur

General Editor:
Lise Sedrez
Stanford University

Advisory Board:
John Wirth
Stanford University
(in memorian)

José Drummond


Environmental History of Latin America

Lise Sedrez

Borderline cases: environmental matters at the United States-Mexico border. 1997. Producer and director Lynn Corcoran. 65 min. Oley, PA: Bullfrog Films.

Flames in the forest. 1991. 52 min. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Inc..
Since the 1950's, the Amazon Indians of eastern Ecuador have bitterly resisted the invasion of international oil companies which, with the encouragement of the Ecuadorian government, seek to use the resource-rich region for intensive oil production. (AA)

Hamburger: Jungleburger. s.d. Director Peter Heller. 58 min. New York, NY: First Run/Icarus Films.
Focusing on the cattle raising and meat export businesses in Costa Rica, JUNGLEBURGER examines the impact of the fast food industry on Third World countries.

Microchip Al Chip. s.d. Director Pablo Lavin. 18 min. New York, NY: First Run/Icarus Films.
Employing fictional, documentary, and videographic techniques, MICROCHIP AL CHIP examines the destruction of Chilean forests in order to sustain its paper exports to other nations, notably Japan.

Amazonia, vozes da floresta. 1991. Producers Monti Aguirre, and Glenn Switkes. 70 min. San Francisco: Amazonia, VHS.
Reviews the ecology of the rainforest, the indigenous indians attitudes towards the forest and their increasing concern for its protection as the fragile ecosystem is threatened with destruction by outside commercial developers. (AA)

Banana Company. [1982?]. Producer Lilia Alfaro P., and Martha Clarisa Hernandez. Director Ramiro Lacazo Deshon. 15 min. New York, NY: First Run/Icarus Films.
Depicts the exploitation of banana plantation workers in Nicaragua by large American companies working there. Interviews workers on the plantations and in the shipping warehouses where the bananas are cleaned and packaged. Commentary is provided by Ernesto Cardenal's poem to the workersReview at

In good hands: culture and agriculture in the Lacandón Rainforest. 1993. Editor Steve Bartz. Director Jaime Kibben. 27 min. Wizard Twins.

The Chaco legacy. 1988. Producer and director Graham Chedd. 59 min. [Alexandria, VA]: PBS Video.
Examines archaeological theories about the rise and fall of Chacoan culture, which had a high level of technical development and flourished over 900 years ago in the area of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Shows their extensive water control system, the large network of roads they constructed and several mammoth structures they built. Includes a history of the different excavation projects. (AA)

Cowell, Adrian, and Michael Kirk. 1990. The Killing of Chico Mendes. Producer Roger James. Director Adrian Cowell. 55 min. Oley, PA: Bullfrog Films.
About Chico Mendes, leader of the rubber-tappers, who sacrificed his life in his fight to preserve the forest. (AA)

Cowell, Adrian, Michael Kirk, Jim Astrausky, and Will Lyman. 1990. In the ashes of the forest. Producer Roger James. Oley, PA: Bullfrog Films.
A colonist searches for his son kidnapped by Indians. A pioneer farm family is on the brink of starvation when their crop fails. (AA)

Dworkin, Mark, and Joshua Karliner. 1988. Environment under fire: ecology and politics in Central America. Presented by Moving Images Video Project and the Environmental Project on Central America. Directors Mark Dworkin, and Joshua Karliner. 27 min. Oakland, CA: Educational Film & Video Project.
Examines the way export crops, pesticides and war contribute to mass poverty and ecological destruction in Central America. Discusses the role of U.S. policies in that destruction, and Nicaragua's attempts to preserve the natural environment. (Note by FHS).

First Run/Icarus Films. 1999. "Films on Latin America." Web page, [accessed 30 July 1999]. Available at

The Zapatistas and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico. 1998. Prod. Native Forest Network, and Eastern North America Resource Center. Container Title: Lacandona, the Zapatistas, and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico. Burlingon, VT.
Deforestation of the Lacandona Forest. Explains the relationship of the Zapatistas, the Mexican government, and United States corporations in the demand for resources.

The Greening of Cuba. 1996. Executive poducer Peter Rosset. Director Jaime Kibben. 38 min. Oakland, CA: Food First.
This video profiles Cuban farmers and scientists working to reinvent a sustainable agriculture, based on ecological principles and local knowledge rather than imported agricultural inputs. In their quest for self-sufficiency, Cubans combine time-tested traditional methods with cutting-edge biotechnology. (AA).

Smith, Miranda. 1989. Voice of the Amazon. Better World Society. 57 min. New York: Cinema Guild.
Through interviews and documentary footage, examines the grass-roots environmental movement in Brazil. Focuses on Chico Mendes, a rubbertapper and environmentalist who was assassinated in 1988 for his role in trying to protect the rainforest from over-exploitation. (AA).

The Columbian Exchange. 1991. Producers WGBH (Boston), BBC Television (United Kingdom), NHK (Japan), RAI (Italy), RTP (Portugal), NDR (Germany), and TVE and SEQC (Spain). 58 min. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Inc..
This program examines the interchange of horses, cattle, corn, potatoes, and sugar cane between the Old World and the New, and the lasting impact of this interchange on the people of both worlds. (AA).