Saturday, August 18, 2012

Way To Go PBS

Castro (Photo credit: wirewiping)

Tonight I viewed a 2-hour documentary, Fidel Castro, part of the PBS American Experience series. The range of expert opinion in this disappointing documentary ranged narrowly from centrist American academics, CIA and other officials to various representatives of the anti-Castro point-of-view from Miami.

Nothing from today’s Havana. Very little of the economic pressure directed by corporations against the regime from the outset. Nothing of the displaced gambling interests. Did I miss mention of the kill-Castro campaigns? Nothing of the humanizing music and baseball. No US-Cuban-other nation comparisons on infant mortality rates, literacy rates, health care and education performance, etc. Nothing of the Pope’s visit in the 1990s. Not a word from one who can see both the good and bad of what Castro has created; Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel García Márquez would able and thought provoking on this, especially in contrast to the already well represented Radio Marti group.

In sum, there is nothing in this documentary to complicate the viewer’s “correct” appreciation of the subject. Castro is just this willful guy who couldn’t be reasonable. One does not need to be a champion of the regime to see this film as an opinion molding exercise directed at those who don’t or can’t take the time to try to see the whole of this tiny island, its enemies, and what – at times sadly – it has done to maintain its otherness.