Oliver Stone fined for filming in Cuba

Campaign News | Friday, 15 December 2006

By Pedro de la Hoz - Granma daily staff writer

THE U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has just fined well-known filmmaker Oliver Stone for violating the laws of what they euphemistically refer to as an embargo, actually nothing more than a barbaric, brutal, systematic blockade, universally recognized as such and condemned by an overwhelming majority in the United Nations.

Stone and the production company Ixtlan were accused of having traveled to Cuba in 2002 and 2003 to shoot footage for two films on the leader of the Cuban Revolution. The newspaper El Nuevo Herald, voice of the anti-Cuban mafia in south Florida, carried the news in its December 12 edition.

In medieval times, such edicts were published as an admonition. The modern-day Inquisition is taking up that ancient practice: the message, obviously, is directed against those who try to exercise their right to creativity and expression, or to objectively reflect the realities of Cuba, even someone like Oliver Stone, whom nobody in their right minds could call anti-American after watching - as hundreds of Havana spectators have done during the 28th Havana Film Festival - his movie, World Trade Center, about the atrocious terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.

Everyone is very familiar with Stone’s vicissitudes in making his films on Fidel. The first, Comandante, which he made for the HBO cable TV network, could not be screened when it was supposed to be because of pressures from the Miami-based anti-Cuban lobby and its right-wing sponsors.

Stone had to cede to demands to go back and film again, this time including interviews with employees of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, whose capacity for histrionics, in the service of demonizing the Cuban Revolution, was demolished in the new production, Looking for Fidel.

It is very likely that the OFAC officials noted Stone’s statements during the launching of Looking for Fidel in the San Sebastián Film Festival, Spain: “Castro is a great host,” he said. “He looks you straight in the eye. He gave me the impression that he trusted me, and I like that (...) I was able to ask all of my questions about internal conflicts in the country, the future of Cuba after Castro, and the international pressure that is placed on Cuba, especially by the president of the United States, George W. Bush. (...) Castro is one of the wisest men there are; he is a survivor and a Quixote. I admire his Revolution, his faith in himself and his honesty.”

For the current U.S. authorities, a price must be paid for a free and unprejudiced opinion like the one above. Hence, cracks and contrivances must be found, despite the fact that Stone’s producers complied with the cumbersome license process, to punish and impede people from thinking for themselves.

It doesn’t matter that they make even more obvious something that is already known: the victimization of the U.S. people themselves, prevented from traveling freely to the island, by those who impose the criminal blockade on Cuba.


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