Oliver Stone Compares Venezuelan Opposition to “Embittered” Cuban Exiles

March 7, 2014 | Print Print |

Oliver Stone released his documentary “My Friend Hugo”, dedicated to the late Venezuelan president.

By Café Fuerte

Hugo Chavez and Oliver Stone.

Hugo Chavez and Oliver Stone.  Photo: telesurtv.net

HAVANA TIMES — US film director Oliver Stone is surprised at the “verbal violence” on social networks prompted by his support of the Chavez government and has compared the Venezuelan opposition to “the right-wing Cuban exiles in southern Florida.”

Stone, a confessed admirer of Venezuela’s political process, had announced that his 52-minute documentary Mi amigo Hugo (“My Friend Hugo”) was to air on the Venezuelan news channel Telesur this past Wednesday, as a tribute to the memory of former president Hugo Chavez, who passed away on March 5, 2013.

The film gathers testimonies on the late Venezuelan president from relatives, friends, intellectuals and political leaders. It was shown on Argentinean public television simultaneously.

“At least I had the guts to go down there and see it with my own eyes. Now I may not have seen everything, but I have a feeling that many of you who are writing to me are an embittered exile class, similar to the right-wing Florida Cuban exiles who’ve helped keep the US in a dungeon of ignorance rather than allowing oxygen to flow between two countries with differing points of view,” wrote Stone on his Facebook page.

Vile and Ugly Comments

“In all the social media I’ve been involved with over the years on film issues, history, and discussions of other counties—such as Japan, China, Russia, NATO, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.—I have never seen such verbal violence,” the filmmaker declared.

The 67-year-old Stone went further in his defense of the Venezuelan regime:

“You can’t you imagine the US can be involved in organizing violent protests against the government? Do you not realize that Maduro won the municipal elections in December by more than 10%? (You say “fixed elections” after every election since 2000, but there is no honorable evidence),” the film director asked.

Crazed Tea Party Republicans

Further on, Stone compared his critics to US Tea Party extremists:

“You act like a bunch of crazed U.S. Tea Party Republicans in your comments. Remember the ‘Brooks Brothers riot’ in Miami during the 2000 election debacle? You don’t read anything that’s different from what you think. You write to me calling me all kinds of horrible names. You don’t entertain any opposing ideas.”

Stone told his detractors that “invective is not reason” and invited them to see his film.

“That will, I’m sure, incentivize some of you to write me even more debased and horrible stuff. But some of you might watch the film at least. And keep your arguments and your tirades non-violent, non-threatening, and non-absolutist. Let’s elevate the debate. I Would much appreciate it. Thank you.”

Stone is also the director of Comandante (2003), a controversial portrait of Fidel Castro which gathers 30 hours of interviews with the Cuban leaders shot between 2002 and 2003.


What's your opinion?

  • John Goodrich

    Stone is a refreshing break from the usual corporate media disinformed U.S. citizen when it comes to understanding what the truth about Venezuela is.
    For those who think the U.S. is NOT up to its ears in trying to overthrow the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED Venezuelan government, you can read today’s Paul Street article at ZNet entitled ” Venezuela, the United States and Obama ” and see what you’ve been missing .
    For those who like Moses, foolishly rely on corporate media rags like the New York Times for their misinformation/disinformation , I would also suggest reading Mark Weisbrot’s ” NYT Violates Standards Of Basic Economics and Journalistic Procedures” which details an open lie printed at the NYT -also at ZNet today or by Googling the article title anytime.
    These two articles will be quite different from what you get from the corporate media and can serve as a beginning to an understanding of how untruthful the U.S. corporate media ALWAYS is on matters involving U.S. foreign policy .
    Moses et al will make the usual argument that ZNet is biased just as the corporate media is biased to the right but I will continue to argue that you can be biased and be telling the truth or you can be biased and be untruthful.
    It is my opinion that the truth is also biased and that it does have a left bias.
    It is my opinion that the corporate media does not tell the truth about the sort of matters we are discussing.
    If you believe me to be in error I would suggest you read the two (not-too-long) articles and compare the information they contain with what you’ve been hearing, reading about Venezuela from your regular sources.
    Then YOU decide for yourself where the truth is to be found.
    and please…tell me where you disagree with any info in those articles and your sources for valid and contending information.
    This is a very opportune time to learn about the lies of the USG and the corporate media since they both are out to get Venezuela and are not really being careful about their lies. .

  • Moses Patterson

    If Oliver Stone were a Cuban filmmaker, would he be free to travel to the US to make a sympathetic film about a US President and still be able to return to Cuba to live in peace and prosperity?

    • John Goodrich

      I don’t know.
      How’s that Yoanni Sanchez doing on her world tour to defame the revolution and to aid and abet U.S. anti-Cuban policy ?
      You have a hard time acknowledging that the U.S. is waging an economic war against Cuba which is an existential war intended to kill the Cuban example.
      What Stone does in pointing out U.S. foreign policy evils is of absolutely no threat to the GOUSA or the U.S. way of life.
      Those who take part in the U.S. economic war on the revolution ARE a threat to Cuba and THEIR way of life.
      You are deliberately and stupidly conflating conditions in the imperial U.S. with conditions in the victimized Cuba.
      Its disingenuous and moronic on your part to take this approach.
      ,

      • Moses Patterson

        Are you suggesting that blogger Yoani Sanchez IS a threat to the national security in Cuba because of her opposition beliefs. Really? Why are extremists always so paranoid about opposition speech?

        • John Goodrich

          Well dolt,
          If there is a U.S. PROPAGANDA war alongside a U.S. ECONOMIC war against Cuba and Yoanni Sanchez is out there saying how bad Cuba is , she becomes a willing participant in that U.S. war against her own country .
          It is your way to want to blame Cuba’s problems completely upon its autochthonous/original-to-Cuba systems
          and to downplay,to the extreme, the effects of the 1Trillion U.S. embargo and propaganda war .
          Of course you will say anything and everything to support that position including the idiocy that U.S.-supported dissidents are not a problem for Cuba.
          Like the original in that marvelous piece of Biblical fiction you’re a Moses lost in the wilderness of your own mind.
          Earth to Moses…..
          Earth to Moses

          • informed Consent

            I would say that Yoanni has more credibility talking about life on her own country than say….you, who has never set foot in the place. It’s a shame you support a totalitarian system that wages an internal embargo against its own people only because you yearn for a socialist system that does not and never will eciat

          • John Goodrich

            I.C.
            Proofread your posts before hitting the send button.
            Try to remember so I don’t have to keep reminding you, that, unlike you, I oppose ALL totalitarian forms.
            This includes the Cuban government and its economic form and the U.S. government and its economic form.
            It’s what all us anarchists have at the center of our beliefs set
            Socialism will come to the planet when capitalism dies in a decade or two and a democratic society is then made possible.

      • righteousreverenddynamite

        You mean that “glorious” revolution that is so special that the Castro brothers believe the regular Cubans are too unsophisticated to have free elections as, after 55 years, they have ALMOST perfected it and they just need a few years more?? Any other New World nation that still has ration cards for its citizens? Or doesn’t allow travel off of the island? Or doesn’t have a widespread internet? Or imprisons you for writing an editorial critical of the government? The last I saw, Canada, Britain, UK, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Russia, China all have trade with Cuba so there should not be any reason why they should not be swimming in cash. By the way, does Mr. Stone touch upon Hugo’s anti-semitism at all against Venezuelan jews? Or Hugo’s friendship with that delusional, Mahdi-loving zealot former Iranian president? Yes, the old excuse that communism would prosper if ONLY IF the US would not embarrass its true believers and critique it (while pointing out the victims) . Was it not Che Guevara who had no qualms about launching nukes at NYC to sacrifice millions of atomic victims for communist glory? Yep, those super-smart Castros turned a very picturesque capital city into the East Berlin on the Caribbean….(When the “Rebellion” comes in the next few years, I cannot wait to see the faces of the liberal toady cowards when the Cubans publicize captured state archives to show the extent of the Castro Crime Family’s brutality).

    • Juliana O

      thank you so much Sir, I’m glad that somebody understands what communism is all about, Stone has no idea, is easy to support a government when you don’t know what you are talking about he is
      ignorant, why doesn’t he give all his millions to countries like Venezuela and Cuba, I know what communism is, I had to leave my country after Castro took everything my family had worked for all their lives.

  • John Goodrich

    I have absolutely no evidence that the ads (whomever or whatever that group is ) is destabilizing Venezuela .
    I do have ample historic precedence for such destabilization practices by the U.S. which ADMITS it is giving $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela.
    This is openly admitted and based in past U.S. history and consistency of policy, you can be sure that money and other means are being supplied covertly in order to try another coup attempt.
    Think about it, Venezuela has a legitimately democratically elected government and the U.S. is giving money to those who want to overturn that democratic election.
    That is absolute fact as is all the info in Paul Streets article .
    It’s the truth and yes , the truth does have a left bias.
    You failed to point out a SINGLE error of fact in the article and you didn’t even notice that fact when you posted.
    Thank you for confirming its validity. .
    Thank you for also confirming your penchant for overthrowing democratic elections.
    It’s a central tenet of capitalist imperialism and you wouldn’t be the totalitarian you are if you didn’t speak out in favor of it.
    I would invite anyone who is interested in this small debate to read the article and chime in with your own opinion as to its veracity or lack of same. .

    • informed Consent

      …sorry my cell phone, which I use for most of these posts somehow changed US to ads.

    • informed Consent

      I must say JG you are an encyclopedia of errors. In reality the US federal budget has 5 million set aside for NGO’s within Venezuela, as they do many other countries around the world. We don’t try and hid the fact as it’s obviously easily available. Many countries promote their views around the world, including Venezuela. This is nothing new.

      And Paul Streets is a hack, its no wonder he’s not published. There was nothing to refute in his “piece”; no facts, no “info”, nothing but innuendo.

      By the way I won’t bother arguing your idea of “truth” as your circular logic would drive a sane man mad.

      • John Goodrich

        Just remember in all this that you are the one that favors totalitarian systems .
        I favor Maduro if only because he was democratically elected .
        The sore losers in the last bunch of elections -the former power elite and wealthy interests- are trying to overthrow the government because they cannot beat them at the polls .
        This is the group YOU support .
        Right-wing totalitarians.
        Unfortunately for you , they are in the permanent minority and since they have no chance of legally taking power maybe they should think about how wonderfully totalitarian and capitalist it would be to live in south Florida.
        As for your risible figures on how much the U.S. spends on trying to overturn Maduro’s election , it is good to know that you have inside information from all of the sixteen U.S. government intelligence agencies including the NSA and CIA and know how exactly much Obama and his Republican friends are secretly spending to eliminate the possibility of a socialist Venezuela.
        I would put Paul Street’s stuff up against anyone you can cite. I welcome a comparison between anything you have and Street’s articles on the subject.
        BTW Your cell phone must be REALLY busy with all those agencies calling to inform you of what they are up to .

        • informed Consent

          Having “won” with less than .01 percent of the vote it is now highly debatable whether Maduro won the election at all. It turns out that the so called secret vote was not so secret at all. And how do we know this? Because a Maduro came out on nations TV and said as much. He told a national audience that he had a list of compatriotas who voted against him. Also many of the polls were manned by charisma in their trade mark red shirts applying undo pressure on the voters.

          I find it absolutely reasonable that this disenfranchised 50% (50% + if new polls, and your comments are to be believed, showing even the poor participating) protesting the nearly 60% inflation, scarcity of basics such as milk and toilet paper and the world’s highest murder rate.

          Chavez bankrupted the country and has ruined it’s future. Meanwhile solidly capitalist neighbors who have lowered poverty as much as Venezuela but have done do in an economically responsible manner are poised to continue their success, while Venezuela’s future, despite their oil, is tenuous at best.

          • John Goodrich

            Venezuela is not bankrupt .
            It has lots of oil.
            An election is an election.
            Maduro won .
            The opposition to Chavez’s policies lost .
            They have another chance in a few years and need to learn how to campaign better.
            There is no other capitalist economy that has reduced poverty by half as did Chavez’s Venezuela.
            Absent any references and statistics, your claim that other nations have reduced poverty in a similar manner are just empty claims.

          • informed Consent

            References and statistics? That’s never stopped you from spouting off. Anyhow I think it’s worthwhile in this instance to repost some earlier comments as they address your questions.

            …by the way this information is from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America. I know it’s not your ZNet but it’ll have to do.

            “As usual JG your facts and figures are all wrong. If it happened only once or twice I would chalk that up as errors on your part, but since you continually misquote statistics I must assume you are just a habitual lair.

            So what’s the truth? ….poverty and inequality have indeed declined in Venezuela but it has also declined across other parts of Latin America as well particularly in Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

            According to the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America, the percentage of the population living under the poverty line in Venezuela fell from 49.4% in 1999 (not the 80% you previously stated ) to 27.8% in 2010. That is a pretty good record but there were similar trends across Latin America. In the region as a whole poverty dropped from 43.8% in 1999 to 31.8% in 2010. A few countries, like Peru, Brazil and Panama, fared even better than Venezuela. Poverty rates in Peru dropped sharply from 54.7% in 2000 to 31.3% in 2010—AND ALL THREE HAVE SOLIDLY CAPITALIST ECONOMIES!

            These Countries are now poised to continue growing their economies and reducing poverty, whereas Venezuela, having depleted their coffers through incompetence and mismanagement (it’s what happens when you try and follow the Cuba model) now suffers almost 60% inflation and shortages of basic necessities, including milk and toilet paper (something they have in common with Cuba).”

        • informed Consent

          By the way John, unlike you, I don’t pull these figures outta my arse. Specifically these figures are available online and are part of the federal budget. You of course will make up your own mind and probably file it away along with your AI computers with the knowledge of a billion earth’s (side not for the casual readers. This happens to be JG’s pet theory)

          • John Goodrich

            Again I.C. ,
            You cannot pretend to know what the GOUSA spends on subversion .
            That sort of spending is top secret.
            It’s NOT published you moron, it’s SECRET, COVERT and they will deny doing anything like that as a matter of course.
            You can’t POSSIBLY be that naive.
            About AI and the development of super-human computers :
            I was wrong.
            I said that because of Moore’s Law ,artificial intelligence ( AI ) would reach human computing speeds in 10 years .
            This thinking was based on the Chinese having a 12 petaflop array last year and that speed doubling every 18 months as dictated by Moore’s Law.
            It appears Moore’s Law is a bit pessimistic .
            I just read in Scientific American that the Chinese as of 12/13 have a 34.9 petaflop array which would be almost a TRIPLING in just a year and bring that human level computer into being by 2021 at the latest .
            Yeah, go ahead and scoff at something you know very little about .
            We shall see who is correct in a relatively short time.
            BTW that billion Earth civilizations worth of knowledge you mentioned was Ray Kurzweil’s prediction for the ultimate computer/AI development around 2045 .
            And what does that crazy dumb guy know ?
            He’s just the director of engineering at Google and I’m sure you’re a lot smarter than him about computers and AI and where they will be in the future.
            Not.

    • informed Consent

      …as I said, wishful thinking

    • American Patriot

      And you support the Cuban Communist-backed dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro (who is Colombian, not Venezuelan) in Venezuela. The Cuban Communist dictatorship is backing the Communist puppet regime in Venezuela. By the way, Maduro stole the presidential election this past April. His Cuban Communist-backed dictatorship also stole the municipal election this past December, you Communist loon. Why don’t you condemn the Castro dictatorship in Cuba for trying to overthrow the democratically-elected government in Colombia by financing terrorist groups like the FARC and the ELN? Why don’t you condemn the Castro dictatorship and the Maduro puppet regime for meddling in the affairs of Puerto Rico (which is a US territory), where a majority of residents there are proud American citizens who want statehood, not independence, for the island territory. You are an apologist for Stalinism/Maoism.

  • gtmunyan@aol.com

    Oliver Stone, a liberal hack, most Americans ignore. He enjoys America’s freeedoms but champions nations which deny the same freedoms. Why listen to a man who can not be honest with himself?

    • John Goodrich

      Can you cite anything specific from Stone’s work that is not factual ?
      I don’t like liberals either but haven’t found much in error in what I’ve seen of Stone’s work .
      I suspect you just don’t like what he has to say but are unable to refute what he says.
      What’ve you got ? I’m open to change .

    • ThomasD

      He is one of the few American ‘intellectuals’ who exercises the hard earned right to criticise the government. He might be a little too enthusiast about those who oppose American authority but at least he is not an apologist for the atrocities caused by his own government.
      Nobody has a perfect picture of what’s going on in the world. I think he has a too high opinion of the Cuban regime. But what matters is if he is willing to face the actions of his own government, the only government that he is responsible for and that he can influence. In contrast to some here in the comment section – Moses in particular – he refuses to look the other way when the US government when it takes away people’s freedom.

      • American Patriot

        Typical Marxist propagandist. If anything, the United States has been too generous even to its enemies who are possessed with hate. The Cuban Communist regime is the worst thing that has ever happened to the Western Hemisphere. The Communist dictatorship inCuba picked up from where the Spanish monarchical empire left off (keep in mind that the father of the Castro brothers, Angel Castro, was a Spanish military officer who fought under the command of Gen. Valeriano Weyler during the Spanish American War). Quit smearing my country, you loon.

        • ThomasD

          Even a Granma Editor couldn’t match such spontaneous outburst of chauvinism. Is the US too generous with its enemies when it initiates coups and invades countries
          that have never killed one American citizen?

          There are many good reasons to dislike ‘communist’ Cuba but your government (and its allies including my country) seem to admire the methods of the Communist dictatorship. However, the US seems to be more determined to use those methods in an efficient manner. So when Castro expropriates all businesses on the Island there is still a huge black market that escapes the government bureaucracy. Clinton was more successful when he decided to intensify blockade when many Cubans were living on 1500-1000 calories a day.

          After years of bombardments, chemical warfare(diseases), embargo’s, terrorist attacks, foreign invasions, imposition of dictators and the occupation of the Guantanamo harbor, the Granma editor might adopt doctrines like ‘my government is too generous to its enemies who are possessed with hate and I better focus
          on the enemies instead of criticizing my own murderous government’.

          Even when the editor gets second thoughts he will still stick to the story since that’s more convenient in Cuba. If he would live in a society where his rights are well protected, he might start to oppose his own government which according to you resembles the Spanish monarchical empire.

          However, you demonstrate that living in a free society does not necessarily mean that one starts to be interested in the imperialist policies of one’s own government.

          Maybe I just fail to appreciate your world view. It could be the case that your leaders are actually the good guys. When president Nixon instructed to ‘make the Chilean
          Economy scream’ and brought in a dictator to replace the elected president, it might have been part of his dedication to democracy promotion.

          When Chileans and other peoples in the hemisphere protest over these policies whithout killing any american citizen (let alone organizing terrorist attacks and installing dictators in the white house) , they are ‘enemies possessed with hate’. No matter how many hollywood blockbusters they watch, as long as poeple get funny ideas about having a say in the policies of their state they are enemies full of hate – on 2 days marching from texas as Reagan puts it

  • david1952000 .

    It had to be fair elections. I mean even dead people got to vote for Chavez. What a democracy!!! One voter died in 1839!

  • Griffin

    Speaking of imperialist intervention in Latin America:

    The Venezuelan Ministry of Defence is commanded by the Cuban General Leopoldo Cinta Fria. Maduro is Raul’s puppet.

  • Dan

    What’s with these American exceptionalists like Griffen, Moses and IC ? They’re like John Kerry lecturing Putin that “countries don’t just invade other countries b/c it’s in their interests to do so”. Don’t they see how transparently contradictory their positions are ? The absolutely most common complaint about Cuba is that they ” don”t allow free elections”. No wonder. They know that dyed in the wool imperialists would never ever accept the results anyway, unless their lacayo won. How can the US lecture Venezuela about democracy, or freedom of speech ? I don’t know how many of you HT have actually been to Venezuela. I have been twice. The biggest shock is not what is going on in Venezuela, it is about how the US is able to fabricate an almost North-Korea worthy propaganda portrayal of that country.

  • Vahe Demirjian

    I find it hard to take Oliver Stone’s remarks seriously. Clearly, the Venezuelan opposition accuses the Maduro government of being a puppet regime of Cuba’s. But it’s important to know that Maduro and the Chavistas have not followed in Cuba’s footsteps in terms of sending the opposition to the firing squad or banning all opposition parties. It’s also good to know that no Venezuelan businessmen have ever escaped to the US just as the Cuban sugar mill owners did in the 60s after Castro confiscated their mills and land holdings. If conservatives and Cuban American fanatics believe that Venezuela’s Maduro is a 21st century Fidel Castro, they fail to mention that Venezuela’s constitution neither enshrines one party rule nor bans private property as set out in Cuba’s 1976 constitution.