In the 1990s, five Cubans were infiltrated by their government in anti-Castro circles in Miami. This is the starting point of Cuban networkan Olivier Assayas spy thriller inspired by a true story …

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“I did my duty. And if I had to do it again, I would do it again without hesitation.” Coming out of prison on October 2, 2011, Cuban René González does not hide his pride in having served his country despite the thirteen years he has just spent behind bars in Florida. It is the story of him that inspired Olivier Assayas for his film Cuban network released in theaters in 2019 with Edgard Ramirez (René González) and Penélope Cruz (his wife) in the lead roles.

Codename: Cuban Five

It all began at the time of the Cuban revolution, January 1, 1959, when Fidel Castro ousted President Fulgencio Batista from power to monopolize him. Over the years, anti-Castro groups have gathered in powerful mafia organizations and carried out a series of attacks on Cuba and the new power from Miami where they took refuge. Faced with the scale of the attacks that are ravaging his island, Castro decides to react by sending spies into the heart of these anti-Castro organizations in Miami. Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González are chosen for this high-risk operation titled “wasp operation”. Without warning, the five men abandon their wives and children to become a spy for the Cuban government. They become the “Cuban Five” or “Miami Five” for the occasion. “The proposal was voluntary. I was free to refuse”, René González, an airline pilot in civilian life, commented much later.

Revenge is a Cuban dish …

Their mission thus begins in Miami in the year 1990, where they pretend to be anti-Castro. Their infiltration mission is a success and they regularly alert the government of future attacks on Cuba. A mission they will carry out until 1997, when a whole series of bomb attacks will take place in Havana hotels. The Cubans are furious and are asking the FBI to arrest the terrorists on their soil. Much to the surprise of the Cubans, the Americans arrested the five infiltrated spies on July 12, 1998! They would have been sold by the mafia leaders of the anti-Castro organizations for revenge. An unfair trial will sentence them to nineteen and fifteen years in prison for Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez and to life imprisonment for the other three of their spy companions. Only in 2013, two years after his release, René González was able to return to Cuba and see his wife and her children again.

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