“We are a little country where 11 million inhabitants are submitted to a constant terror and intimidation” says Prof Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, CEO of The Cuban Commission of Human Right and National Reconciliation. These are strong words coming from a recent documentary made in Cuba called “La Otra Cuba” (The Other Cuba).
Italian Director Pierantonio Maria Micciarelli is one of those filmmakers who drank from the romantic chalice most Europeans sip in regards to Cuban reality. When he arrived and began shooting, he experienced something different. “When I was young I was fascinated by the myth of the Cuban revolution”, says Micciarelli. “but being now in Cuba, I saw another face and reality. They are people of great valor and courage, even though Cubans are prisoners in their own home. I knew it was a dangerous project but it was my story, real and proper, and I needed to continue”.
In his documentary, Micciarelli conducts tough talks with residents who comment on the government fat cats — “Really, ‘they’ [government] have always been giving themselves good lives. They never cared about the people… the people that adored them, and still do.” Son of Cuba’s Vice President Juan Almeida Bosque (3rd ranking official who recently passed in 2009) also comments in this film. “I think the Revolutionaries strayed far away from their ideas” agrees Juan Juan Almeida, an independent journalist who was imprisoned after his fathers death for his honest testimonies on the system.
“Fidel Castro is known as a cynical person with a great propensity to lie,” says another independent journalist/poet and former prisoner. Needless to say, the Italian director became very impassioned with all the information he learned on his trips, including a first-hand suspect experience with Laura Polllan, the CEO of “Damas de Blanco” (Ladies in White), a pro democracy organization in Cuba. During her interview, a car from State Security T-Bone crashes straight into them with the Director in the car. The footage is all too real and a shocking display of an intolerant State.
Blogger/writer Yoani Sanchez is also featured in this film and remains hopeful, envisioning a future where all Cubans, with all their political stances, can co-exist side by side one day.