|Thursday, April 15, 2004
11:15 - Nobody's Perfect
Wait a minute. This woman is an NPR commentator?
I speak of Ann Louise Bardach, who tore Oliver Stone a new one in this interview over his recent Castro-love-fest documentaries.
ALB: Now, when you were talking to the prisoners who tried to hijack a plane, one told you he was a fisherman, and you said, "Why then didn't you take a boat?" Why did you ask that?
OS: Well, it seemed to me that if they were familiar with boats, it seemed to be the best way.
ALB: Did you know that in Cuba there are virtually no boats? The boats that are used for fishermen are tightly controlled. One of the more surreal aspects of Cuba, being the largest island in the Caribbean, is that there are no visible boats.
OS: I see.
. . .
ALB: For the second film, you received permission to see the dissidents Osvaldo Paya, Vladimiro Roca, and Elizardo Sanchez. They spoke critically of the government. Obviously, that couldn't have happened unless permission for them to see you was granted, right? What do you make of Castro allowing that to happen?
OS: I don't think he was happy with it. I don't think he wants to be in the same film with Paya. In his mind they are faux dissidents.
ALB: He actually calls them faux dissidents? He called them the so-called dissidents?
OS: Yeah, so-called, right. I was in Soviet Russia for a script in 1983, and I interviewed 20 dissidents in 12 cities. I really got an idea of dissidents that was much rougher than here. These people in Cuba were nothing compared to what I saw in Russia.
ALB: Did you ever think to bring up why he doesn't hold a presidential election?
OS: I did. He said something to the effect, "We have elections."
ALB: Local representative elections. But what about a presidential election?
OS: We didn't talk about it, especially in view of the fact that our own 2000 elections were a little bit discredited.
Bardach comes across as a clear-eyed and quick-witted historian, and Stone comes across as a clueless partisan nimrod. And yet, for some reason, people don't caricature him as a poop-flinging simian.
Don't miss the moral judgment Stone renders upon Castro on the basis of his shoulders.