Fidel Estela Bravo

Fidel Estela Bravo
Fidel Castro has been vilified for years by Cuban Americans and by American politicians. Why was Cuba the only country not invited to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas meeting? Is it because they're less democratic than the governments in Latin America installed by the CIA, or is it because, as one American in the documentary says, "it's like American politicians have an ‘obsessive psychosis' about Fidel?" This documentary is not his long-awaited chance to get a fair appraisal; it's transparently pro-Castro. Commentary comes from prominent American personalities like Harry Belafonte and Alice Walker. Former teachers, childhood friends, guerrilla comrades and long-time friend and author Gabriel Garcia Marquez also share stories about Cuba's aging leader. However, in referring to Castro by his first name, the title is misleading in its familiarity. Large chunks of his story remain unaddressed and what is said about his private life is extremely vague. Fidel is portrayed at his charismatic best with more quotable quotes than are printable. For many small developing nations, Castro symbolises the promises of the post-Colonial era. He's made Cuba free for the first time in its history. No longer is Cuba a Spanish colony, an American plaything or a Soviet protectorate, Cuba's future is its own. He's survived the Bay of Pigs, the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc and numerous assassination attempts. While visiting Castro at a hotel in Harlem, Nikita Khrushchev was asked if Castro was a communist, he replied, "I don't know if Fidel is a communist. What I do know is that I'm a Fidelist!" When presented in contrast to the mountain of anti-Castro propaganda, Fidel is a fascinating history lesson, to be viewed with the same critical eye with which one watches a Donald Rumsfeld press conference. It's hard not to view the extras with that same critical eye when they're as thin as the disc itself. The five short and pointless outtakes suggest a "we got to use something" approach. Skip the special features and watch the film. Extras: Estela Bravo profile; outtakes; commentary about Estela Bravo; and commentary about Fidel Castro. (Mongrel Media)