Cuba Today: NET station update

This program has its Unit I broadcast October 9, 1967

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All Stations
Greg Vitiello
PA-1-156 — NET JOURNAL — Cuba Today (working title)
September 1, 1967

(This programme has its Unit I broadcast October 9, 1967.)

Filmed during a four-week period in July and August, this program studies Castro’s Cuba and its “daily revolution” at first hand. The dramatic event of this period was the meeting of the Organization of Latin American States, bringing together radicals from around the Western Hemisphere for an exercise in revolutionary rhetoric. But the program finds that the revolutionary spirit goes far beyond the OLAS meeting; it permeates the mood of the island, giving the people a constant link with their recent history and helping them to overcome present hardships. Here, the nemesis is “Yankee imperialism.” The cause is communism — and the encouragement of guerrilla warfare throughout the continent.

These are the conclusions reached by producer Richard Moore of KQED, San Francisco, whose NET crew was the only documentary unit permitted on the island during the OLAS meeting. In addition to covering OLAS and its speeches by Castro and Cuban President Dorticos, the NET cameras ranged freely from Havana night life, relic of the old days of the American tourist trade to the state-owned sugar fields. The program visits Santiago, birthplace of the revolution, for a view of LaTrocha, the Cuban carnival. (It is at Santiago’s Fort Moncada that Castro made his first military thrust on July 26, 1953 — the 14th anniversary of which was celebrated by OLAS.)

The program then visits the Salon de Mai, an international art exhibition sent to Cuba from France coincident with the July 26 celebration. There are also interviews on Cuban culture with poet Pablo Armando Fernandez and novelist Edmundo Desnoes. They discuss the defection of many Cuban intellectuals, their own role in present-day Cuba, and the problem of underdevelopment, especially as recorded in Desnoes’ book “Inconsolable Memories.”

This problem is seen as the film crosses Cuba, where sugar cane is more prevalent than houses. The current economic policy of Cuba, pointed toward agriculture, is examined by Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, former head of the ministry for agricultural reform.

The film also focuses on the Cuban youth movement. Interviews are conducted with young militants at the Isle of Youth, a former prison where they now receive agricultural training. On the same isle, NET has filmed rehabilitated political prisoners who are now members of the labor force. A different view is provided by a visit to the Varadero airport, where exiles wait to fly to the United States.

At San Andres, the film observes a planned community, reflecting Castro’s hopes for his proletariat regime. There, infants are placed in state nursery schools, and all services are provided by the state in its attack against underdevelopment. At the opposite end of the island, at Gran Tierra (Oriente Province), a similar plan is inaugurated by Castro, who launches into his favorite topics on camera — Yankee imperialism, underdevelopment, and the hopes of Cuba.

Castro is seen again at the OLAS meeting, addressing an enthusiastic throng of 100, 000. Among those present are Stokely Carmichael, former head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and a delegation from the National Liberation Front of Vietnam. At the conference, NET interviews journalists James Reston of The New York Times and Wilfred Burchette, an Australian whose writings have been outspokenly pro-Hanoi.

“NET Journal — Cuba Today (working title)” is a production of National Educational Television; producer is Richard Moore of KQED, San Francisco.

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Suggested Newspaper Listing:

NET JOURNAL — “Cuba Today” (Working title): The revolutionary spirit of Castro’s Cuba is recreated in this report, which ranges the island from the meeting of the Organization of Latin American states to a carnival at Santiago, birthplace of the revolution.

10 COLUMBUS CIRCLE, New York, N. Y. 10019 

(212) JUdson 6-0055

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