"The Fidel Castro Tapes" chronicles how his drive and charisma catapulted him to power in Cuba and how he used these traits to maintain control of his country for nearly five decades and capture the attention of the world. Instead of telling his story through interviews, the show relies solely on media reports, rare images and recordings to document Castro’s turbulent life.
By using an in-the-moment style of storytelling, "The Fidel Castro Tapes" gives viewers a sense of being present during the most significant moments of Castro’s career, and gives remarkable insight into his personality. The film details how Castro gained control of his island nation and how he tried — and failed — to win the friendship of the United States, showing why relations with the U.S. deteriorated as it became obvious that many members of Castro’s ruling party were Communist.
Because of the Communist threat, the U.S. banned importation of Cuban sugar — the main economic engine in Cuba. In response, Castro seized all American-held businesses in his country, including sugar plantations, and, as a result, the U.S. issued an embargo on all Cuban goods. From the failed U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and the tense stand-off of the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the financial destruction that came with it, the film examines Castro’s tumultuous career and his resilient hold on power.
Finally, the show follows Castro’s declining health, his decision to cede power to his brother, Raul, and Raul’s efforts to continue Fidel’s legacy. The film shows that even though Castro is now out of the public eye, he remains the most prominent figure in Cuba’s history. "The Fidel Castro Tapes" brings to life, in vivid detail, the career of a man who is at once described as both a pariah and a legend.
"The Fidel Castro Tapes" was produced and directed by Tom Jennings.