When Fidel Castro passed away one year ago, Filmmaker Jon Alpert from New York’s DCTV was there, following Castro’s ashes around the country. This was Alpert’s last trip to Cuba in his new documentary, Cuba and the Cameraman, the culmination of documenting the lives of cubans for 45 years.
“Fidel was George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, F.D.R, Ronald Reagan all rolled up into one person,” says Alpert, was the last American to meet with Castro. “He had a profound, significant effect on every single Cuban.”
Alpert’s film chronicles the lives of several Cubans whose experiences and circumstances show the changes to daily life under Castro’s regime. The film shows many ups and downs, but to Alpert the biggest tragedy is that he believes the Cuban Revolution was never given a chance to succeed by the U.S.
“We haven’t solved our healthcare problems…In many parts of the United States [we] have not solved our educational problems,” says Alpert, “The Cubans were coming up with solutions. We should have just left them alone, and [said] let’s see if they can succeed and maybe we’ll learn something from them.”
Cuba and the Cameraman releases on Netflix on Nov. 24.