Focus Features is going to Cuba, attaching George Clooney to direct and produce “The Yankee Commandante” via his Smokehouse Pictures banner. Focus won bidding this week for feature rights to “Commandante,” based on David Grann’s recent New Yorker story about William Alexander Morgan, an American who led a guerrilla force with Fidel Castro in Cuba’s Escambray Mountains that helped overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in late 1958. He also foiled a coup attempt by the Dominican Republic’s dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1959 but fell out of Castro’s favor thereafter due to his anti-Communist beliefs and was executed in 1961.
Something tells me that–much like in the New Yorker article on which the movie is based–Max Lesnik and Eloy G. Menoyo’s views will feature heavily. Something also tells me the film will be devoid of any input by Roberto Martin Perez and others who suffered the longest terms of political incarceration in modern history because of Morgan’s treachery. After all, their anti-Castro plot, as the New Yorker article explains (echoing Castro) had nothing whatsoever to do with restoring Cuba’s freedom. Instead it was inspired by the wicked dictator Rafael Trujillo.
According to Armando Lago about 2000 Cubans were murdered by firing squad while Morgan loyally served Castro. Indeed in 1959-60 many of the men and boys cramming La Cabana’s galeras were were there because of Morgan’s treachery.
Morgan lived in a mansion during this time, had a fancy car and owned a frog farm. Might it occur to Clooney to ask how this AWOL GI, deadbeat-Dad and ex-con managed to acquired these luxuries? In fact they were all stolen at gunpoint from their rightful Cuban owners. “Bienes Malversados”–INDEED!
Something tells me that, given George Clooney’s political disposition, none of this will feature. Something tells me the movie’s “historical advisors” will be selected very, very carefully. Morgan’s old comrades (Segundo Frente Del Escambray) after all, morphed into an outfit known as Alpha 66. Can you imagine a leftist Hollywoodie thanking Alpha 66 in his movie credits?….whatever. This should be interesting.