In 1963 & 1964 Robert Carl Cohen became the first US filmmaker authorized by both the US State Dept. & Cuban Foreign Ministry to film the daily lives of upper, middle and lower economic-class Cubans. Returning to the US, Cohen interviewed an upper class exile who, his aged parents remaining in Cuba, requested anonymity. The film's production had to overcome obstacles such as Kodak's selling the Producer defective raw stock & the loss of the work print from an insured Railway Express shipment. Its 1965 screening as "Three Faces of Cuba" on over 100 National Educational TV (NET) affiliated stations led to violent protests by anti-Castro exiles, hearings before federal agencies, & non-inclusion by the NET in the usual distribution of its programs to the schools. Despite having permits from both the State & Treasury Depts., Cohen's 1963 through 1971 tax returns were audited by the Internal Revenue Service; which revealed no liability. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) files released in 1975 reveal possible CIA influence in NET's refusal to distribute the film.
THREE CUBANS provides one of the best documentations of the early effects of Castro's revolution on the people of Cuba.
AUDIENCE: Concerned Citizens, Students of History, Latin American Affairs, Social Psychology, International Relations, Sociology, Political Science, Communism.
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The truth is that in its early years, the Revolution put fresh meat and vegetables on tables that had long been unused to either. The lower classes are no more "guilty" in looking the other way at "the regime's excesses" than were the upper classes of regimes past. Self-interest trumps abstractions every time, as Cuban No. 2 made so eloquently plain. If only the anti-Castroits were as honest about theirs.
For additional historical perspective I'm reading Havana Nocturne by T.J. English. Castro may be the bad boy in the classroom, but he is certainly not the only bad boy. And, for some odd reason, the names of the other bad boys are never mentioned. Hmmm.
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A study guide to the movie can be found online: [...]