The Cuba Libre Story

The Cuba Libre Story

From Columbus to Che and Castro

Cuba - the island where dreams clash. It was the gateway to the New World, the port of call for the American underworld, a crossroads for drug smuggeling. It has brought us cigars, sugar and rum. And a Socialist Revolution: Cuba stands for schools for everybody, and an eternal struggle for freedom. Cuba may seem synonymous with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, but its history was shaped by adventurer Christopher Columbus, freedom fighter José Martí, Dictator Fulgenico Batista, Mafia Boss Meyer Lansky and many others. For "The Cuba Libre Story", ZDFinfo and France Television have joined production companies LOOKSfilm (Germany), Interscoop (France) and Format TV (Russia) to tell Cuba's complete history - looking back at 500 years before the Castro Brothers, and ahead at what will come after them.

For the first time ever, the Russian state film archives of Krasnogorsk, the Red Army and KGB's film archives and the Cuban State Film Archive ICAIC have granted us access to their Cuban treasures. We tell Cuban history from a transnational perspective. All footage has been newly scanned, digitally restored and re-mastered, from the Spanish-American War of 1898, which was the first war in history ever to be filmed.

"The Cuba Libre Story" weaves together over 50 exclusive interviews with the most important experts and eyewitnesses of Cuban history - broth from within and outside the island. We bring together both followers and opponents of Fidel Castro and his predecessor Fulgenico Batista. We hear from Juan Antonio Rodriguez Menier, former chief of Castro's secret service and Nikolai Leonov, head of the KGB in Latin America from 1953 onwards (and Vladimir Putin's former boss and mentor), from Marita Lorenz, Castro's former lover and Carlos Calvo, Castro's former bodyguard. We hear from Cynthia Duncan, granddaughter of Mafia boss Meyer Lansky, Leonardo Padura, Cuba's most famous novelist and Egon Krenz, East Germany's last head of state and personal friend of the Castro brothers.

Cuba's complete history - in 8 Episodes:
1. Breaking Chains
2. War and Sugar
3. Ganster's Paradise
4. A Ragtag Revolution
5. Making Heroes
6. Of Soviets and Saviors
7. Secrets and Sacrifices
8. Moments of Transition