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The Revolution is Now

Since Fidel Castro stepped down as President of Cuba in February, there’s been speculation that relations between America and the island country might change. But the truth is many Cuban-Americans have struggled against the embargo for years. Take Max Lesnik. He’s a former associate of Castro’s who fought alongside the dictator in the Cuban revolution. Shortly after the war, Lesnik had a falling out with Castro (they disagreed on many political issues), so he fled to Miami, where he raised his family and spoke openly about engaging in negotiations with Cuba. That put a target on Lesnik’s chest – he became the focus of death threats, bombings, and drive-by shootings organized by anti-Castro terrorists. Despite the efforts put on his life, Lesnik grew more vocal. By the 1980s the violence in Miami’s Little Havana turned to mayhem, with CIA trained operatives targeting him and other outspoken Cuban-Americans.

Lesnik’s daughter, Vivien Lesnik Weisman, grew up in a state of constant turmoil, trapped between her father’s ideology and the reality of being a child in the midst of war. So she did what most normal kids would do: She sought catharsis as a documentarian. In 2007, Lesnik Weisman premiered her film, The Man of Two Havanas, a chronicle of her father’s life and its impact on their family, at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film spurred controversy, but also received rave reviews for its depth and honesty. Though the Miami Film Festival oddly overlooked it last month, The Man of Two Havanas has now made its way to the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and will screen Saturday at noon at Sunrise Cinemas Mizner Park (301 Plaza Real, Boca Raton). Tickets cost $7. The PBIFF runs April 10 through 17 at various locations across Palm Beach county (see our coverage in Film). Visit www.pbifilmfest.org for a complete list of movies and showtimes.
Sat., April 12, noon, 2008

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John Linn