Cuba Trip Hands Michael Moore Free Promo
Michael Moore made a low-profile trip to Cuba a couple months ago reportedly connected to his new film “Sicko.” Now, the US Treasury Department has ratcheted up the publicity and is threatening him with a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail for traveling to the island.
Dragging the filmmaker into the controversy over the nearly half century US blockade and travel ban on Cuba should get even more people charged to see his documentary about the US health care system.
Moore seemed unperturbed by a threatening letter from the government and his lawyers are deciding how and when to respond.
In the meantime, the Oscar-winning director (Bowling for Columbine – 2002) is busy preparing for the world premiere of Sicko on May 19th at the Cannes Film Festival. It is scheduled to be shown in theaters across the United States starting in late June.
Sicko is being billed as a biting comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the world’s richest country.
Moore joins a host of ordinary people including bicycle riding retirees, sun worshipers, professors, business people, sister city promoters and students that have been hassled, fined or threatened by the Bush administration for visiting Cuba.
Moore’s last film “Fahrenheit 9/11” was a box office smash worldwide earning a reported $220 million dollars. It was a permanent thorn in the side of President Bush during the 2004 election campaign.
BILLS IN CONGRESS TO END THE TRAVEL BAN
There is growing bipartisan support on Capitol Hill to end the travel ban on Cuba and some support to trash the blockade completely. The current Congress will be voting on several bills related to the issue.
HR 654 was introduced by Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz). The legislation would completely eliminate the travel ban to Cuba on US citizens. By May 3, the bill already had 103 sponsors including 10 Republicans.
While President Bush is currently battling for more no-strings Iraq war funding, he has also threatened to veto any bill that weakens the Cuba blockade.
Powerful right wing Cuban-American groups based in Miami have been reliable campaign contributors to many Republican and some Democratic Party coffers. The strategy has thus far earned them disproportionate political influence.