The American Experience: Season 17, Episode 3

Fidel Castro (31 Jan. 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
6.5
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A biography of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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Title: Fidel Castro (31 Jan 2005)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Rena Baskin ...
(voice)
Fulgencio Batista ...
Himself (archive footage)
James Blight ...
Himself - Professor of International Relations
Ricardo Bofill ...
Himself - Human Rights Activist
Leonid Brezhnev ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Jorge Domínguez ...
Himself - Professor of International Relations
Alfredo Duran ...
Himself - Veteran, Bay of Pigs
Rafael Díaz-Balart ...
Himself - Castro's Brother-in-Law
Alfredo 'El Chino' Esquivel ...
Himself - Castro's Schoolmate
Carlos Franqui ...
Himself - Journalist
Norberto Fuentes ...
Himself - Author
Georgie Anne Geyer ...
Herself - Journalist
...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

A biography of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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Release Date:

31 January 2005 (USA)  »

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I don't think Sean Penn or Danny Glover would approve...
25 March 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Here in the US, there's been a lot of criticism of Public Broadcasting (PBS) over the last few decades. Many see the network as a far-left organization. If this were true, you'd expect to see this episode of "The American Experience" would be very pro-Castro and it certainly is not! The show is quite critical and seemed pretty balanced--and represents a picture of Fidel Castro that isn't in line with the glowing reports of the man by various members of the Hollywood elite. You can assume that Sean Penn and Danny Glover (two of Fidel's biggest supporters here in the US) would not be pleased by this show.

The film begins in Fidel's early years and ends with him in 2005--before he passed control of the day to day running to his brother, Raul. It seemed quite critical and described Fidel as an antisocial individual with little actual regard for others--a man who sees his allies as disposable and who is every bit a dictator--turning his country into a vast network of prisons for dissidents. It is NOT pro-Castro--especially when the leader began showing an affinity for communism in the late 50s-early 60s. In each case, they provided eyewitness accounts of his abuses of power and few in the show had a lot of positive things to say about him other than he had a real knack for consolidating power. Overall, a very interesting show that is bound to be somewhat controversial, as Castro is practically a saint for leftists in the US and abroad. I found it interesting that a show this critical of Castro came from a network that prides itself as NOT being for the right or far-right.

By the way, there is no mention of Fidel's baseball prowess--which is a good thing. Widespread rumors of him being scouted in his youth by teams such as the Chicago Cubs and Washington Senators are all urban myths according to Snopes--and I once say a documentary that promoted this myth.


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