Busted! The U.S. Government has fined director Oliver Stone for illegally traveling to Cuba.
According to a tersely-worded Department of Treasury document released Dec. 1, the IXTLAN Corp. of Santa Monica, Ca. -- Stone's production company -- will pay $6,322.20 to "resolve allegations of violations of the Cuban embargo." The violations occurred between Feb. 2002 and May 2003.
The report continues: "OFAC alleged that IXTLAN and four individuals dealt in services in which the government of Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest incident to the making of a documentary film. The matter was not voluntarily disclosed to OFAC."
Stone, of course, is no stranger to Cuba; he produced two documentaries on the country. One, called Comandante, was a friendly look at The Bearded One. HBO had planned to show the film, then yanked it. Stone then went back to the island for more footage and the result was Looking For Fidel. The film was never commercially released in the U.S. It ran on HBO in 2004.
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Of course, journalists can legally travel to Cuba, under US treasury rules. But a 2004 interview with Stone reveals that he didn't consider himself a journalist when he interviewed Castro for the movies. Said author and Cuba expert Ann Lousie Bardach: "I gather you rejected the idea of demonizing him."
Stone replied: "Of course. My role here was not as a journalist. It really was as a director and filmmaker. In my job, I challenge actors. I provoke them."
Calls to Stone and his agent went unanswered.