In the 1990s, five Cubans were infiltrated by their government into anti-Castro circles in Miami. This is the starting point of Cuban Networka spy thriller by Olivier Assayas inspired by a true story…
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“I did my duty. And if I had to do it again, I would do it again without hesitation.” On leaving prison on October 2, 2011, the Cuban René González does not hide his pride in having served his country despite the thirteen years he has just spent behind bars in Florida. It is his story that inspired Olivier Assayas for his film Cuban Network released in theaters in 2019 with Edgard Ramirez (René González) and Penélope Cruz (his wife) in the main roles.
Codename: Cuban Five
It all started at the time of the Cuban revolution, on January 1, 1959, when Fidel Castro ousted President Fulgencio Batista from power to monopolize it. Over several years, anti-Castro groups gathered in powerful mafia organizations and carried out, from Miami where they took refuge, a whole series of attacks against Cuba and the new power. Faced with the scale of the attacks ravaging his island, Castro decides to react by sending spies to the heart of these anti-Castro organizations in Miami. Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González are chosen for this high-risk operation entitled “operation wasp”. Without warning, the five men abandon their wife and children to become a spy for the Cuban government. They become for the occasion the “Cuban Five” or “Miami Five”. “The proposal was voluntary. I was free to refuse”, will comment much later René González, airline pilot in civilian life.
Revenge is a Cuban dish…
Their mission thus begins in Miami during the year 1990 where they pass themselves off as anti-Castroists. Their infiltration mission is a success and they regularly alert the government of future attacks on Cuba. A mission that they will carry out until 1997 when a whole series of bomb attacks occurs in hotels in Havana. The Cubans are furious and demand that the FBI arrest the terrorists who are on their soil. To the general surprise of the Cubans, the Americans arrested the five infiltrated spies on July 12, 1998! They would have been sold by the Mafia leaders of the anti-Castro organizations, out of revenge. An unfair trial will condemn them to nineteen and fifteen years in prison for Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez and to life imprisonment for their three other spy companions. It was not until 2013, two years after his release, that René González was able to return to Cuba and see his wife and children again.