Reuters is reporting today from Havana that the city’s Malecon seaside avenue is hosting Hollywood stars like Benicio del Toro, Bill Murray, Robert Duvall and James Caan who all arrived in Cuba on Wednesday. Del Toro is in town to receive an award today from Cuban artists and intellectuals for his portrayal of Che Guevara in the biopic Che directed by Soderbergh. The other three are said to be working on a “research project”, a spokesman told the news service. Others in the movie industry are accompanying the group, including some unnamed producers. (Who are you?) In the past, filmmakers like Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Kevin Costner, Robert Redford, Sydney Pollack, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson have been excoriated for visiting Cuba despite the long-standing U.S. trade embargo and ban on American visitors to the Communist country. But now a “recast” of U.S.-Cuban relations has begun under the Obama adminstration, and cultural exchanges are being encouraged after years of being unwelcome during the Dubya administration. The celebs’ spokesman said the current Hollywood group visiting Havana is traveling under a license granted by the U.S. Treasury Department.
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