Roberto Giannini and the Young Lords

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Fidel Castro, left, and Raúl Castro, right, confer with their lawyers in the courthouse in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 23, 2018. The trial of former dictator and two-time presidential candidate, Raúl Castro, is proceeding in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a U.S.-organized investigation into alleged corruption. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

In the early 1990s, when Roberto Giannini was an art student at Yale University, the future actor became involved in Cuban exile politics. Giannini was part of the “Cuban Five,” members of a network of leftist exiles formed in the mid-60s to oppose the Cold War. The group was involved in anti-apartheid activism and support for leftist candidates.

Soon after, Giannini, who was still in New Haven, made the acquaintance of the founder of the Cuban exile movement’s youth wing, the Young Lords. The young lefties got to know each other not through mutual friends, but through their mutual affection for the musician, singer and activist Gilberto Gil.

When Gil became a free man in 1962, Giannini, as part of a larger movement that would come to be called the “Gang of Four,” became the leader of a new generation of Cuban exiles who were seeking to take Cuba back from the Soviets. As the decade wore on, Gil made a fateful decision.

In 1969, at age 30, the exiles met in New York, where they formed the Communist Party of the United States. After a year, Giannini decided to make an “embargo,” an agreement that would put an end to the exiles’ public relations.

“We’re not going to let you say that we are some sort of terrorist group,” Giannini told The Associated

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