- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 27, 2007

In “Fading Fidel” (Jan. 19, A17) R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. writes “After dining with him [Castro] in 2002, Steven Spielberg enthused he had just spent ‘the eight most important hours of my life.’ ”

In fact, Mr. Spielberg never said that, or anything remotely like that. I organized Mr. Spielberg’s trip to Cuba, and was there with him. The purpose of the trip, authorized by the U.S. government, was to screen eight of his films for the Cuban public.

He never said that, or anything else about Fidel Castro, during the trip or after. The statement is preposterous on its face. The AP and Reuters in Cuba, which covered his trip to Havana, most certainly would have used that quote if he had really said it. In fairness to Mr. Spielberg, The Washington Times should correct the record.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need any further information.



Dear Mr. Rivers:

The quote came from multiple reputable sources — the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News, the (New York) Daily News, and Scotland on Sunday, to name a few — whose accuracy we had no reason to doubt. Mr. Spielberg was criticized for his visit to Cuba by his colleague, Robert Duvall. Mr. Spielberg’s contention he was originally misquoted by Cuba’s state-run press has been less widely circulated.

What has not been disputed is that Mr. Spielberg dined and talked with the dictator for hours, allowing himself to be used by a cruel regime for its public relations purposes. I’m willing to take your word for it that Mr. Spielberg was misquoted. Perhaps such misunderstandings can be avoided in the future by refusing to be used by ruthless tyrants who rely on propaganda to maintain their grip on power.


Editor in chief, the American Spectator.

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