In her own words: I embarked on this film journey from a promise to my mother, and my mother to my father, and my father to his Brothers and Sisters in Arms. The opportunity to one day tell their true life stories of what they and their families went through in the darkest period of Cuban History, in their generation. Much has been written, much has been said, yet those who truly fought in the mountains of La Sierra Maestra; have never really spoken their Truth.
This will be one of the many film projects we will embark on. The first must be in honor of The Constitutional Armed Forces of Cuba, the plight and exodus of so many Cubans in 1959 to the date. In their words, or their families!
To begin to heal 58 years of Cuban history, we must start with the men, women and their families who were murdered with no due process, who have been thrown in jail, who have been falsely accused and who lost everything. We will not judge, we will tell a story, to bring justice to light; for everyone deserves to tell their Story.
Julia Torres, a Gulf War Vet, former undercover cop & author of “Still Standing” and “Bolder & Braver” Worked in Grand Jury cases, extradition, juvenile, and pre-trial. Narcotics, gambling, organized crime, and major crimes in local, state, and federal levels. Retired after twelve years due to a military service-connected injury.
Miami Police Chief Nelson Andreu Sr. Author of a Miami murder mystery novel, “Dead Red” Nelson specializes in death investigations, police related shootings and in-custody deaths, polygraph examination, interviews and interrogations, crime scene investigation, police procedures, and serial killers.
Master Trooper, Lester Burns, retired after a 30 year career with two wars in Iraq as a soldier. Lester Burns responsibilities varied from traffic, vehicular accidents, homicide and fugitive cases. As a trooper, Burns has survived two police shootings
Lieutenant Nitin Daniels, from West New York, NJ. Police Department. Lt. Daniel’s worked patrol, investigations in the detective bureau and supervised units. Daniels was involved in local, state, and federal cases involving narcotics, gambling, and organized crime. Lieutenant Nitin Daniels retired after twenty-five years of service
Conversacion con el productor de peliculas y actor Orestes Matecena acerca del proyecto Abril1, 2014 a las 12:00PM, derechos humanos y el camino hacia la libertad para Cuba.
Cubano, la libertad de Cuba depende de ti! Dale la noticia a tu familia en Cuba para que sepan lo que tienen que hacer. Pueden hacer dos cosas buenas:
Tirarse para la calle o quedarse en sus casas sin salir. Paro general y Desobediencia Civil en Cuba este Martes, 1ro de Abril a las 12PM. como un acto o proceso de oposición pública a la política de un gobierno ostil como el que impera en nuestra patria. Unanse, sean activos en el proceso y el camino hacia la libertad en Cuba.
Falta un dia, Ayuda que se sepa en Cuba, inventa como! Corre la voz.
Ana Margarita Martinez was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. as a child. She was a divorced mother of two young children in suburban Miami when she was courted and wed by a Cuban spy. This is a story of love and betrayal, espionage and murder.
Ana Margarita Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the United States at the age of six with her mother and grandmother in 1966 during the Freedom Flights Exodus. She was just another Cuban-American working mother and wife when her entire world crashed in 1996 after her husband turned up in Cuba just two days after the Cuban government shot down two civilian planes and killing four volunteer pilots and co-pilots in a Brothers to the Rescue search and rescue mission – an organization of which her husband, a Cuban MiG pilot who had reportedly defected from Cuba, had been a member. Juan Pablo Roque’s marriage to her had been part of his cover – and a sham, making Ana Margarita and her children a part of the machiavellic espionage plan. She was suddenly thrust into the public limelight and consequently became active in the Cuban pro-democracy cause and politics. Her marriage to Roque was annulled in a civil court of law.
Three years after Roque returned to Cuba, Ana Margarita won two judgments against the Cuban government – $7,175 million in personal damages and $20 million in punitive damages, for the rogue government’s role in the fraud. The debt is still unpaid. In her personal battle against the Cuban government, Ana Margarita has seized three Cuban airplanes that have arrived at U.S. territory as partial payment to her judgment. Her story has circulated the globe on such programs as ABC’s 20/20; Good Morning America, CBS’s 60 Minutes; Inside Edition; The Leeza Gibbons Show; Court TV; Univision Network’s Aqui y Ahora and many more, as well as in articles published in Time magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald, The London Guardian, People Magazine, Discovery ID and Lifetime Television, just to name a few.
In February of 2010, lawyers for Ana Margarita filed motions to garnish eight charter companies that do business with the Cuban government in order to collect the legal debt ordered by a circuit court judge. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in court in defense of the Cuban government.
Ana Margarita still lives in a Miami suburb, but in a different home. She lives close to her daughter and ten-year-old grandson (her son lives out of state) and works as a public relations consultant, specializing in Hispanic media and outreach as well as English-language marketing. There is a book about her story in Spanish that only scratches the surface. A feature film and a fuller, deeper book are in the works.
My Guest Co Host: Ms. Monica Rosales, Director of DocMiami.org
Jose Luis Martinez began his career in the Miami talent industry as a booking agent. In Los Angeles, he worked on a motion picture production desk at International Creative Management (ICM), where he had the opportunity to support several Academy Award winning clients. Upon returning to Miami, Jose Luis Martinez worked with the Miami International Film Festival to help plan and execute its 25th edition; an eleven-day event that featured world premieres and A-list stars.
Mr. Martinez was previously the Creative Director of the Miami World Cinema Center, where he has served as a producer on several independent feature films, many of which have premiered at film festivals such as MIFF, Marbella, and South by Southwest. Mr. Martinez is currently working with the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba on an ambitious digital media project to bring greater internet connectivity and human rights awareness to the Island.
Jose Luis graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication majoring in Motion Pictures and Theater Arts.
Celebrating Life in Union is a story of human resilience, community, and brotherhood of a group of former Cuban political prisoners. Narrated by Andy Garcia and Writer/Producer/Director Gladys Bensimon.
Gladys Bensimon is an award-winning producer/director, and the President of HBR Production Company, a multilingual film and digital production company located in New Jersey.
Ms. Bensimon has worked in a wide range of genres including commercials, features, animated shorts, short narrative films and documentaries. Bensimon has won several awards for her bold animated short films and documentaries that she has written and directed. Her most recent achievement has been in the documentary category with political production Crossing Our Borders/Cruzando Nuestras Fronteras, narrated by Hollywood Actress Maria Conchita Alonso. The documentary received at multiple film festivals and won the award for Best Documentary at the Hoboken International Film Festival. The film has been featured on several top-tier media such as CNN, Univision, Noticias 24, Voz de Cuba, Dennis Miller Show, Fox News, EBTV, USA Today and more.
In addition to her 20+ years of producing and directing, Gladys Bensimon is also a published author. Her first published book, Paha Sapa: Black Hills that she wrote with Novelist Sheila Martin Berry into a book geared to a young audience. Paha Sapa: Black Hills has been translated to many languages and is now available at Barnes and Noble.com, Amazon.com, Borders.com, and more outlets. Her second book will be soon published as part of a series for young readers.
Barbara Rangel, Col Rojas granddaughter and grandson Silvio Gonzalez. Producer & Director Agustin Blazquez, Author, Brian LFrench, Musician, Steve Pichan and Humberto Fontova, author of numerous books and expert on Totalitarian and Dictatorial regimes. Col. Cornelio Rojas Fernandez born in Cuba in the 1900’s His aspirations were to become a military man like his ancestors, after graduation, he began his military career in Cuba’s National Police where he was a Captain, Commander then General Inspector of Cuba’s National Police. With hard work and dedication he became the Chief of Police for the Leoncio Vidal Regiment in Santa Clara. Col Rojas was a pillar of his community, known for his public service and philanthropy, Col. Rojas had a great heart and strong family values. In 1931, he fought for democracy against dictator Gerardo Machado as group leader under Manuel Balan. He came from a line of distinguished patriots, Mambises that fought in Cuba’s War on Independence against Spain. His father Lt. Col. Cornelio Rojas Escobar joined the war of 1895-1898 and his grandfather, Brigadier Col. Cornelio Rojas Hurtado was a 3 Star General that fought in the 3 wars: The Ten-Years War, The Small War and the War of Independence against Spain. When the war ended on 08/24/1898 he was promoted to Brigadier General, he died of natural causes at the age of 88. In January 1959 Castro imposed communism in Cuba and Col. Cornelio Rojas who was Chief of Police in Santa Clara, went missing. Later the family found out that Che Guevara, had occupied Santa Clara and had arrested him for being a high ranking officer. Meanwhile, the Rojas family receives a comunicado a “salvo conducto” from Guevara himself, explaining that no harm would come to Col. Rojas. On January 7,1959 only days after his capture, while the Rojas family was watching television regular programming was interrupted to exhibit the live execution of Col. Cornelio Rojas.
My co host, Seasoned Miami Radio personality, Mike Triay.
Guests of honor: Colonel EJ Otero. Colonel Evelio “EJ” Otero, Jr. (US Air Force, Retired) was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a family of iconic broadcast and University Professors. His father, a Cuban immigrant, became the first television broadcast journalist at Telemundo in Puerto Rico and only the third in all Latin America. While working in Washington D.C., Evelio, Sr., produced and became the first host of Voice of America-Radio Marti. EJ’s Mother, a New York University Ph.D in communication, became the first woman television Director in Puerto Rico and one of the first in the United States, she also founded the Republican Party in Puerto Rico. Otero’s parents instilled in their children a deep respect for the United States of America and conservative principles that fostered his commitment to hard work, education, and faith.
Susan Price, mother of fallen hero Aaron Kenefick, Michael Kenefick, was KIA in Afghanistan on September 8th, 2009. Aaron was 30 years old. He was my only Son yet I have two daughters who miss their big brother so much. Aaron was a Recon Marine, Special Forces. He was Marine of the year twice in his 12 year career, being awarded twice during the first 10 of his 12 years. Aaron also served as an Attendee (body guard) for Former President George W Bush at the Republican National Convention a few years ago, and served as Aid to Generals at CENTOM in Tampa Fl, before transferring to 3rd Marine Battalion Okinawa Japan and being selected as one of their 21 Special Trainers in Afghanistan.