Shootdown

Tonight the documentary Shootdown was screened at the Olympia Theater in downtown Miami. I was invited to see the film for a second time but could not make it. For those that aren’t familiar Shootdown is a film about the Brothers to the Rescue planes that were shot down by Cuban MIG fighters in international airspace almost 12 years ago. Our government did little to protect those flying in the planes and did nothing in response. 4 were killed. 3 of them were American citizens and the other was a legal resident.
I originally saw the film two years ago when a similar screening was held at the Olympia Theater. I wrote a review at that time. Since then Cristina Khuly, the filmmaker, has edited the film and sent me a reviewers copy that I haven’t had a chance to screen yet (sorry Cristina). But I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to this film because it will actually be in theaters this month. Check out the official Shootdown web site by clicking here.
Here’s a current list of theaters and dates:
California
LOS ANGELES
01/25/2008 Mann Theaters Beverly Center 13
District of Columbia
WASHINGTON DC METRO
01/25/2007 AMC Hoffman Center 22 – 206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria, VA
Florida
FORT LAUDERDALE
01/25/2008 Sunrise Cinemas Las Olas 15 – 300 SW First Ave.
FORT LAUDERDALE
01/25/2008 Regal Sawgrass 23 – Sunrise
MIAMI
01/25/2008 Cobb Dolphin 19 – 11471 NW 12th St.
MIAMI
01/25/2008 AMC Cocowalk
MIAMI
01/25/2008 Regal Palace 18
MIAMI METRO AREA
01/25/2008 Cobb Miami Lakes 17 – 6711 Main St., Miami Lakes
MIAMI METRO AREA
01/25/2008 Cobb Hialeah 18 – 17355 NW 59th Ave., Miami Lakes
MIAMI METRO AREA
01/25/2008 Cobb Jupiter 18 – 201 North US HWY 1, Jupiter
MIAMI METRO AREA
01/25/2008 Cobb Merritt Square 16 – 777 East Merritt Island Causeway, Merritt Island
ORLANDO
01/25/2008 Cinemark Festival Bay Mall – 5150 International Dr.
ORLANDO
01/25/2008 Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 and IMAX
ORLANDO
01/25/2008 Regal Oviedo Marketplace Stadium 22
TAMPA
01/25/2008 AMC Veterans Freeway 24
Illinois
CHICAGO
01/25/2008 AMC South Barrington, 175 Studio Dr., South Barrington
North Carolina
RALEIGH
01/25/2008 Carmike 15
Texas
HOUSTON
01/25/2008 AMC Studio 30 – 2949 Dunvale

5 thoughts on “Shootdown”

  1. In 1986, a bomb in a Berlin disco killed a U.S. soldier. President Reagan responded by ordering an air strike on Gadaffi’s home in Lybia, killing his child.
    President Clinton reacted to the shoot-down of the Brothers to the Rescue planes by signing the Helms-Burton Act into law, and waiving Titles 3 and 4 of the act, which gave it substance. President Bush to this day has continued waiving the same titles 3 and 4, keeping the same Democrat policy toward Cuba. His Justice Department indicted the two Cuban Mig pilots who did the murders, but failed to bring them to justice or to indict Fidel and Raul Castro, who publicly boasted of giving the shoot-down orders.
    In 1982, the Reagan Administration indicted four Cuban government officials for drug trafficking. Twenty-five years later, they still have not been brought to justice. U.S. policy toward Cuba under both Democrats and Republicans has been very weak and lacking resolve.

  2. Henry, please, what is your opinion of this disclaimer from the BTTR website?
    “The documentary “The Shoot Down” shown on February 25, 2006 at the Gusman Center in Miami pretends to represent the events that unfolded on February 24th, 1996. This documentary is actually a misleading and distorted account of the historical facts that led to the murder of four of our pilots.
    There is an evident attempt by the quoted “experts” to explain and downplay the unjustifiable without disclosing their known personal agendas.
    Unless this movie undergoes a substantial revision, Brothers to the Rescue will take legal action for the unauthorized use of the image of its President, Jose J. Basulto and of the Brothers to the Rescue logo.”

  3. First of all Cristina Khuly is the niece of one of the four that were killed. So I don’t think she’s trying to make the regime look good in the film and she doesn’t. But the film also doesn’t make Basulto look good either. From what I remember of the screening I saw, on the day of the shootdown there were three BTTR planes flying. One of them did cross into Cuban airspace. That plane was the only one that was not shot down. That plane was Basulto’s plane. Now that look’s bad for Basulto any way you slice it. If his recklessness led to the shooting down of the other two planes (regardless of the fact that it’s never permissible to fire upon unarmed civilian aircraft) then that’s a terrible burden that Basulto must live with.
    Honestly I tend to believe Cristina Khuly’s account that was in the movie because whether Basulto crossed into Cuban airspace or not on that particular day, it’s a irrefutable fact that Basulto and others had done so on previous occasions. To do so was obviously a risk to whoever did it (knowing the regime the way we know it), a risk they may have accepted, but the actions created an atmosphere which would jeopardize future BTTR flights.
    I recommend you see the film and judge for yourself. If Basulto has a case, then he’ll win in court. Also depending on what Khuly edited from the 2006 screening until now maybe Basulto’s concerns have been addressed.

  4. The families of the three young Cuban Americans murdered broke with Basulto years ago, blaming him for the deaths. BTTR had previously entered Cuban airspace to drop copies of the U.N. Human Rights Declaration over Havana. All the pilots knew what they were doing and the risks they were taking. I do not believe that they were misled. Unfortunately, BTTR was very naive about the workings of the dictatorship, which managed to infiltrate a couple of spies in their group. That’s what led to their demise. Basulto did not get any funds from the millions the other family members received from frozen Cuban assets released by the Clinton Administration. Basulto sued the Cuban government in federal court and won. I don’t believe he has collected yet. From the recordings of the Cuban jet pilots that were released, it is evident that they were also gunning for Basulto, whose plane took evasive maneuvers into the clouds at low altitude, and the Cuban Migs were unable to get him before he reached U.S. airspace. I don’t know Basulto or anyone involved in the incident. As I stated in my previous posting, the response of the Clinton and Bush administrations toward the murder of three Americans citizens and a resident alien is pathetic and shameful. When the presidential aspirants come to Miami soon, they should be asked if they will indict Fidel and Raul Castro for this atrocious act once they are elected. I bet most of the presidential aspirants won’t even know about this issue.

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