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Stansfield Smith, ChicagoALBASolidarity.wordpress.com, former leader of the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five
The film Wasp Network, based on the book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War, The Story of the Cuban Five by Fernando Morais, is a co-production between France, Spain, Belgium and Brazil. It was shown in Cuba last December, soon after it came out. You can now watch it on Netflix.
It is not a film on the Cuban Five, and not a Cuban film. It is a story of three of the Cubans who infiltrated the Miami network of terrorist groups dedicated to destroying the Cuban socialist system. The story focuses on Rene Gonzalez, with Geraldo Hernandez receiving less attention. The other three of the Cuban Five heroes, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, and Fernando Gonza'lez, are barely mentioned. Nor is their trial, nor their years in US prisons. One other Wasp Network member presents an unsavory character in the movie, Juan Pablo Roque.
Rene Gonzalez said, "The film, as many people have said, is not exactly the story of the Five, it is the story of part of the Five, but it also goes beyond that to the story of the confrontation between Cuba and the United States. It seems important to me that from the point of view of a European, who has no direct relationship with this conflict of so many years, a film has been made on a subject that, during the time in which this story unfolded, was a subject censored by the media of the world. That is the fundamental value of the film."
While the movie certainly contains some standard anti-communist propaganda, required for "credibility," it mostly portrays the Wasp Network's thwarting of the operations of Miami terrorist groups. The Miami Cuban rightwing groups, the Cuban American National Foundation being the most significant, were involved in drug running, hotel bombings and armed attacks in Cuba, and attempted assassinations of Fidel Castro.
Once the rightwing Miami mafia heard news about this content from the movie's showing at the Venice Film Festival, they threatened to burn local cinemas that showed it.
A review in Granma, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, points out "The Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas, 2019) makes it clear, from historical objectivity, that the Cubans who infiltrated counterrevolutionary organizations in Miami exile had the right to ensure the security of their country, and thus stop the wave of terrorist attacks in the 1990s under the protection of the United States."
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