[Marxism] Fwd: Journalist & Filmmaker Saul Landau, 77, Dies; Chronicled Cuban Revolution For Decades

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Wed Sep 11 00:20:42 MDT 2013



*http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/9/10/journalist_filmmaker_saul_landau_77_dies_chronicled_cuban_revolution_for_decades

Democracy Now! September 10, 2013 *


  Journalist & Filmmaker Saul Landau, 77, Dies; Chronicled Cuban
  Revolution For Decades

Saul_landau_2003

The award-winning journalist, filmmaker, author and professor Saul 
Landau has died at the age of 77. His death was confirmed by the 
Institute for Policy Studies where he was a senior fellow and vice chair 
of the IPS board. Landau made more than 45 films and wrote 14 books, 
many about Cuba. “He stood up to dictators, right-wing Cuban assassins, 
pompous politicians, and critics from both the left and the right,” IPS 
Director John Cavanagh said in a statement from the group. “When he 
believed in something, nobody could make him back down. Those who tried 
would typically find themselves on the receiving end of a withering but 
humorous insult.”

Landau’s recent film, "Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?" exposed 
U.S. support for violent anti-Castro militants. Last year, Landau 
appeared on Democracy Now! 
<http://www.democracynow.org/2012/6/11/will_the_real_terrorist_please_stand> 
to discuss the history of the Cuban Five and U.S. support for a group of 
anti-Castro militants who have been behind the bombing of airplanes, the 
blowing up of hotels and assassinations. Today, they are allowed to live 
freely in the United States. "What did Cuba do to us?," Landau asks. 
"Well, the answer, I think, is that they were disobedient, in our 
hemisphere. And they did not ask permission to take away property. They 
took it away. They nationalized property. And the United States ... has 
never forgiven them."

Landau is survived by his wife, Rebecca Switzer, his first wife, Nina 
Serrano, and his five children, seven grandchildren and four 
great-grandchildren.

*Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up: Saul Landau on U.S.-Aided 
Anti-Castro Militants & the Cuban 5 
<http://www.democracynow.org/2012/6/11/will_the_real_terrorist_please_stand>*

The Institute for Policy Studies released the following statement:

*The Institute for Policy Studies Mourns the Loss of Filmmaker and 
Author Saul Landau*

(Washington, D.C., September 10, 2013) Institute for Policy Studies 
staff and friends are mourning the loss of Saul Landau, an award-winning 
filmmaker, author, poet, and fearless human rights activist. Saul was an 
IPS Fellow from 1972 until his death on September 9, 2013, from cancer 
at age 77.

Saul produced more than 40 films and TV programs, 14 books, and 
thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and reviews. Among his 
numerous accolades, Saul received an Emmy and a George Polk Award for 
“Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,” a film he directed with Jack Willis 
in 1980 about the cover-up of health hazards related to 1950s atomic 
bomb testing.

Beyond his extensive body of work, Saul will be remembered for his 
steely nerve and caustic wit. “He stood up to dictators, right-wing 
Cuban assassins, pompous politicians, and critics from both the left and 
the right,” said IPS Director John Cavanagh. “When he believed in 
something, nobody could make him back down. Those who tried would 
typically find themselves on the receiving end of a withering but 
humorous insult.”

Saul constantly mocked the hypocrisy he saw in U.S. policies, 
particularly in Latin America. His last film, “Will the Real Terrorist 
Please Stand Up?” tells the history of U.S.-Cuban relations through the 
lens of the Cuban 5, a group sent to infiltrate right-wing terrorist 
organizations in Miami. When the spies turned over evidence of 
U.S.-based terrorism to the FBI, they themselves were arrested and 
convicted while the anti-Castro terrorists continued to live freely in 
Florida. Several times in the last years of his life, Saul joined actor 
Danny Glover in driving hours across the California desert to visit one 
of the Cuban 5 prisoners.

Over the course of his career, Saul made six films about Cuba. His most 
popular was the 1968 PBS documentary “Fidel,” shot during a week-long 
jeep tour of the country that allowed him unprecedented access to the 
controversial Cuban leader. New York and Los Angeles premieres of the 
film were both canceled after firebomb attacks on the theaters. “These 
right-wing Cubans had, how shall I say it, ‘strong views’ on free 
speech,” Saul later commented. At the time of his death, he had yet 
another Cuba film in the works, this one on the fight against homophobia 
in that country. The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples 
(ICAP) awarded him the Medal of Friendship on August 7, 2013.

In 1971, Saul released two films about the election of Chilean President 
Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist 
leader, including one with singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald. 
Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier invited him to screen one of the 
films at the embassy in Washington and they became friends. Two years 
later, a military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the 
Allende government and imprisoned Letelier.

Saul worked with other international supporters to secure Letelier’s 
release and to arrange a job for him at IPS, where he became one of the 
most prominent critics of the Chilean dictatorship. In 1976, agents of 
Pinochet used a car bomb to assassinate Letelier and IPS colleague Ronni 
Karpen Moffitt on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Saul immediately launched an IPS investigation into the murders. He was 
suspicious of the FBI, which had conducted extensive surveillance and 
infiltration of IPS during the Nixon era. In the course of the 
investigation, however, Saul developed a close working relationship with 
the lead FBI agents and maintained strong friendships with them for 
decades after the crime.

In 1980, Saul co-authored (with former Washington Post reporter John 
Dinges) a book on the Letelier-Moffitt case, Assassination on Embassy 
Row, which was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

In 1995, Saul and his former IPS colleague Joan Garces co-authored the 
book Orlando Letelier: Testimonio y Vindicación to help revive efforts 
to bring Pinochet to justice. Three years later, Saul was thrilled when 
a case Joan had filed in the Spanish courts resulted in the former 
dictator’s arrest in London.

While Pinochet ultimately avoided prosecution, Saul celebrated this 
measure of justice and the precedent it set for international human 
rights law. With obvious glee, he wrote that as a result of the arrest, 
“rumors abound that Henry Kissinger makes discrete inquiries before he 
travels abroad, to assure himself that he won’t get ‘Pinocheted.’”

“Saul’s commitments were forged of steel,” said Isabel Letelier, the 
widow of Orlando Letelier and a former IPS staff member. “He was an 
impeccable and exemplary revolutionary.”

Saul also helped keep the pursuit of justice alive through his support 
of the Institute’s annual Letelier-Moffitt human rights awards. For 36 
years, this event has lifted up new heroes of the human rights movements 
in the United States and Latin America. Saul received the award himself 
in 1992. In 2008, the Chilean government presented him with the Order of 
Bernardo O’Higgins, the highest civilian honor awarded to non-Chilean 
citizens.

Saul’s other books and films and articles covered the gamut, from the 
U.S. Congress to Nicaragua, Mexico, Jamaica, and a final set of articles 
against U.S. policy in Syria. He worked with IPS up to the day of his 
death, helping to set up two year-long fellowships for young public 
scholars.

Saul also taught classes at the California Polytechnic University in 
Pomona, the University of California-Santa Cruz, and American 
University. He used his vast repertoire of vivid stories and off-color 
jokes to engage his students and open their minds to alternative 
perspectives.

“A large part of his legacy will be that he mentored countless young 
people and instilled in them the importance of history and the radical 
idea that we can make our own history,” said IPS Co-Founder Marcus Raskin.

In his 2007 book A Bush and Botox World, Saul railed against the 
shallowness of American political and consumer culture, appealing to 
readers to “stop allowing the message senders to keep us in the sucker 
role and instead play a role during the course of our short passages in 
the long historical drama.”

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Switzer, his first wife, Nina 
Serrano, and his five children, Greg Landau, Valerie Landau, Carmen 
Landau, Julia Landau, and Marie Landau and seven grandchildren and four 
great grandchildren.

The Institute for Policy Studies will host a public memorial service at 
the Liaison Hotel in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 12, at 6 pm. 
Another service will be held in San Francisco on a date to be determined.


-- 
---------------------
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Home:   Phone 604-689-9510
Cell: 604-789-4803







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