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'The Wasp Network' Premieres On Netflix, But Don't Expect Red Carpets In Miami

Gael Garcia Bernal, left, and Penelope Cruz in The Wasp Network

The spies known as the Cuban Five are one of the most controversial stories in U.S.-Cuba relations – especially in Miami. A new movie about that bitter episode begins streaming on Friday – and it’s sure to be just as controversial in Miami as the real thing was.

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In the trailer, a characters announces that "for all Cubans ready for freedom, the hour of truth has arrived."  The hour has at least arrived for “The Wasp Network,” the film debuting on Netflix that chronicles events in the 1990s when communist Cuba planted agents in Miami. The cold war thriller is garnering favorable reviews from critics. But it’s not likely to be so well received in Miami, where it’s set.

The Wasp Network's mission was to disrupt what Cuba called a Cuban exile terrorist conspiracy against the island. It ended with four Cuban exiles from the Brothers to the Rescue group shot down and killed in their unarmed small planes by Cuban fighter jets over the Florida Straits.

Five of the Cuban spies were arrested and convicted in Miami on espionage charges. The last of them was released six years ago when the U.S. and Cuba normalized relations. They’re considered heroes on the island today.

The movie, directed by French filmmaker Olivier Assayas, shows the Wasp Network’s story largely through the eyes of, well, the Wasp Network. And not so surprisingly — though it features star power like Penelope Cruz and Gael García Bernal — few in Miami will be rolling out any red carpets for it.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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