The Times of India reports that Cuban state television has premiered the series “El que debe vivir”, which will examine some of the 638 attempts to kill former president Fidel Castro. The first episode of the eight-part series, broadcast on Sunday night in prime time, ran 70 minutes and covered the earliest attempts to kill Castro before his rebel forces defeated dictator Fulgencio Batista’s army in 1959. The show discussed conspiracies to foil preparations in Mexico for the armed expedition aboard the yacht Granma led by Castro, who landed in eastern Cuba with a group of young supporters. The rebels took up arms in the Sierra Maestra mountains and set up a guerrilla camp.
The first installment of the series examined the case of peasant Eutimio Guerra, who worked with the guerrillas but was later recruited by Batista’s army and given the mission of killing Castro and obtaining information on the rebels’ plans. Guerra revealed the location of the rebels’ camp to the army and the air force began bombing the area, but Castro had ordered his forces to disperse because he did not trust the peasant. Guerra was captured and, after admitting his treachery, executed by the rebels.
Series director Rafael Benitez has said that he wanted to tell a story using “a mixture of genres” to “give the viewer more information about the events”. Production of the series lasted three years. The filming involved 243 actors and actresses, some of them stars of popular telenovelas and dramas, as well as 800 extras. State media reported that the last episode will deal with the assassination attempt planned for November 2000 while Castro attended an event at the University of Panama during the 10th Ibero-American Summit.
Attempts have been made to kill Castro with bombs, sharpshooters and poison gas, as well as with poisoned cigars and milk. Cuban officials say at least a dozen assassination attempts have been foiled at summits and during foreign trips. The 83-year-old Fidel Castro, who stepped down from the presidency in favour of his younger brother, Raul, 79, after being stricken by a serious illness in July 2006, remains the leader of the Cuban Communist Party.
Image: Poster for 638 Ways to Kill Castro, directed by Dollan Cannell, the story of the United States’ relationship with the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, focusing on the many times that Castro’s assassination has been attempted. It is an interesting film about a figure that, for Americans, is shrouded in mystery and embarrassment. The CIA has tried to kill Castro through many intermediaries, some of whom are terrorists. This is the type of information typically covered up and saying it in a public place would get one branded as a “conspiracy theorist”. These things happened however, and this film illustrates them in a way that detracts from the information. Set as an examination of suspects, complete with found footage of an actual police lineup, the film veers too far into trying to entertain and misses an opportunity to delve deeper into the subject matter.