DECEMBER 13, 2006
It took four years, but federal authorities have finally punished an Oscar-winning Hollywood director and admirer of Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro for violating United States law during the filming of a controversial documentary praising the world’s renowned communist.
The United States Department of the Treasury has fined Oliver Stone $6,322.20 for violations of the Cuban embargo between February 2002 and May 2003 when he and individuals from his Santa Monica California production company paid for services in which the Cuban government has an interest.
The so-called documentary, called Comandante, praised the Cuban dictator and his socialist regime. It was so factually distorted that even ultra liberal Hollywood shunned it and it was never commercially released but rather limited to a cable channel after numerous revisions. Stone blamed the demise of his masterpiece on Miami’s powerful Cuban exile community.
The popular director has been to Cuba numerous times and he has bragged about his marathon interview sessions with Castro, who he considers a friend. In fact, the 60-year-old Stone has repeatedly said that he admires the communist dictator’s revolution and that he is “one of the wisest men ever, a survivor” and a solitary fighter comparable to Don Quixote.
The men are so close that a few years ago Stone sent Castro a warm and fuzzy letter – greatly publicized in Cuba–wishing him a speedy recovery from knee surgery and telling the dictator that he misses him and looks forward to seeing him. Stone also wrote that if he were looking for Superman’s grandfather to make a film, he would pick Castro.
It’s not surprising then, that the Cuban government has denounced the consequences that Stone must pay for violating U.S. law. The prison island’s official communist newspaper, Granma, condemned the punishment of a “fine cinematographer” and chastised U.S. officials for imposing the fine.
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