Saul Landau asks: “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?”
Washington DC – July 26 will mark the 58th anniversary of the onset of the Cuban revolution. In an America besieged by unemployment, faced with high gas prices and engaged in three military actions abroad, it’s hard to understand why the little island nation is still considered a terrorist threat. The film by Institute for Policy Studies Senior Fellow Saul Landau, “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up,” featuring Landau, Danny Glover and Fidel Castro (at age 84), shows how the U.S.-backed violence against Cuba has continued for decades and our government’s unusual obsession with Fidel Castro has led to the unjust conviction of the Cuban 5. The 80-minute film will premier in Los Angeles and will be released nationwide on DVD and digital platforms on July 26, 2011. A screening will also take place on July 26 at the West End Cinema in Washington DC, 7:30 PM. (Ticket price of $11.00. Please visit the event listing at the IPS website.)
Thirteen years ago five Cubans, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González, were arrested in the United States for espionage. They were intelligence officers who were sent to Miami to observe the Cuban exile community and infiltrate anti-Castro groups such as Alpha 66, the F4 Commandos, the Cuban American National Foundation, and Brothers to the Rescue. The five men had been tasked to help Cuba defend itself against bombings that threatened to destroy its tourist industry – the lifeblood of its economy. The agents warned their government of plots and impending violence to hotels, restaurants and people back in Cuba. These men, now knows as The Five, were given extreme prison sentences in 2001 ranging from fifteen years to two consecutive life terms (for Hernández, the cell’s leader).
The Emmy award-winning Landau, “made this film to provide the context for the story of The Five. I tried to show how Cuba used infiltration to respond to terrorism based in Florida from 1959 through the 1990s. The agents warned of impending violence to hotels, restaurants and people. I was in Cuba when some of those bombs exploded. This undeclared war is unknown to most Americans.”
In the film, Landau speaks with well-known anti-Castro Cuban terrorists, including some Bay of Pigs participants who appear on camera to boast or re-evaluate their activities over the years. Orlando Bosch, Jose Basulto, Luis Posada Carriles and Antonio Veciana discuss assassinations and other actions they took to bring down the revolutionary Cuban government. By way of contrast to the sentencing of the Cuban 5, Posada, a former CIA operative, who was considered the mastermind of the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in which all 73 people on board were killed, was acquitted in April 2011.
The film combines fascinating archival footage and a rare recorded interview from prison with one of the Cuban 5 as well as a recent interview with Fidel Castro at age 84. Bonus features include extended interviews with: the imprisoned Gerardo Hernández, considered the leader of the Cuban 5; author and journalist Ann Louise Bardach; Jose Basulto, the leader of the Cuban exile organization Brothers to the Rescue; and Leonard Weinglass who was the appellate attorney for the Cuban Five from 2002 until his death in 2011.
Saul Landau has produced over forty films. He has received numerous awards, including an Emmy with Jack Willis for “Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,” the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting, the First Amendment Award, and the Bernardo O’Higgins award from the Chilean government for his human rights work. He is a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
QUOTE FROM SAUL LANDAU:
“I made this film to provide the context for the arrest and imprisonment of five Cuban intelligence agents who, in the 1990s, were sent to Florida to penetrate violent exile groups there and thus help Cuba to defend itself against bombings that threatened to destroy its tourist industry – the lifeblood of its economy. The film shows how Cuba used infiltration to respond to terrorism based in Florida from 1959 through the 1990s. The agents warned of impending violence to hotels, restaurants and people. I was in Cuba when some of those bombs exploded. This undeclared war is unknown to most Americans.
“I found out later that the FBI received indirectly the information from these Cuban agents and used their tips to find caches of explosives and weapons. The FBI arrested their own sources. They were tried in Miami and convicted by an intimidated jury. 13 years later, they remain in U.S. federal prisons, one with two life sentences. I also wanted the film to show what U.S. policy has been toward Cuba and provoke audiences to ask: So, what did Cuba do to us again to merit so much punishment?”
In April 1961, the CIA sent a force of Cuban exiles to overthrow the Cuban government. This resulted in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Fifty years later, a new documentary shows that US-backed violence against Cuba continued for decades. The new film, with Danny Glover, anti-Cuba terrorists, and Fidel Castro himself (filmed recently) is combined with fascinating archival footage and a rare recorded interview from prison with one of the Cuban 5. These men are serving long sentences in US prisons for trying to stop terrorism against tourist sites in their country. | Trailer | Web page: www.realterrorists-themovie.com
SRP: $19.95 | TRT: 80 minutes
Street Date: 6/14/11 | UPC: 881394113220
Catalog: CLS1132 | Genre: Documentary/Global Affairs/ Latin America
BONUS FEATURES: Extended Interviews
DIGITAL ASSESTS: High Res Box Art: http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com/clscatalog/2011/WTRTPSU_3D.jpg
Low Res Box Art: http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com/clscatalog/2011/WTRTPSU_3D_LR.jpg
RESPONSES TO FILM:
“Saul Landau blends his extraordinary combination of talents – as an historian, political analyst, film maker, poet, and teacher – in this monumental film about the US war against Cuba. Meticulously crafted and backed by an original score, Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up provides a compelling narrative that situates the benign activities of five Cuban agents in the context of the half-century US-terror campaign.”
– Philip Brenner, Professor of International Relations, American University
“’Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?’ provides every professor and specialist with an invaluable teaching and learning tool about US-Cuba policy and the history of terrorism in that policy. It also explains the story of and context for the ‘Cuban 5,’ the Cuban agents who penetrated Miami exile groups to stop their plans for violence against the island, and ended up in US prisons.”
– Julia Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“A thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of the under-side of U.S. policy toward Cuba. Nowhere perhaps does the American pathology of Cuba stand in sharper relief than in the reach of extra-legal efforts used as a means of subversion and sabotage by the United States to remove the government of Cuba. Landau has rendered an important service by examining the multi-faceted forms of terrorism at work in the world today.”
– Louis A. Perez, Jr., Director of Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of North Carolina
“It was, all in all, the pro-Cuba aspect of the film that stunned me. And it was clear that this pro-Cuba aspect was not conjured by the filmmaker but by history. Perhaps, I told myself, I knew much of this history, intellectually, academically. But I had never seen it so graphically put before me, in such a tight, cinematic package that seemed to leap off the screen almost in synch with the beating of my pulse.”
– Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel, US Army (Retired)
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