Danny Glover, Hugo Chavez Ink $20 Million Movie Deal

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:23pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Actor Danny Glover has agreed to make two movies financially backed by the Venezuelan government, but U.S. officials are calling the deal "tainted."

The Venezuelan National Assembly is giving the national production company, La Villa del Cine, $19.7 million to make the two films. The first, which Glover will direct, is about Francois Dominique Toussaint-Louverture, a Haitian independence leader. The second is a film adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, "The General in His Labyrinth," about Simon Bolivar.

According to Venezuela's state-run television station, TeleSur, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez started La Villa del Cine in 2006 to combat "the dictatorship of Hollywood" and spread the story of Latin America.

Both movies will be filmed in Venezuela.

Glover's production company, Louverture Films, said "Toussaint" is an /ldblquote action epic, based on the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the life of Toussaint Louverture, who led one of the only successful slave uprisings in history, successively defeated the French, Spanish and British imperial armies (including Napoleon Bonaparte), and established the first independent black Republic: Haiti."

Glover said he wanted to educate the U.S. about the story, the British newspaper, The Guardian, reported. "It's been essentially wiped out of our historic memory, it's been wiped clean," he said.

"I think that [Glover is] just a pawn in Hugo Chavez's propaganda machine," Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) told Cybercast News Service. "It's sad. What I don't get is why a well-known American, let alone any American, would be part of a propaganda machine with Hugo Chavez, and that's clearly what he's doing.

"They'll live in this country and enjoy the freedoms that we all enjoy," Mack said. "We have men and women around the world fighting for and defending our freedom, yet they'll go and support a communist dictator in Venezuela."

The films, Mack added, "are just part of that overall plan to try to paint the West or the United States in a bad light."

Through a spokeswoman, Glover said he had no comment about Mack's criticism.

Mack noted that Glover has "long been a supporter of Chavez's radical left-wing policies. He is also a member of the board of the television network TeleSur, a Chavez-funded network that has teamed up with Al-Jazeera to spread anti-democratic messages across Latin America."

The congressman lashed out at Glover for turning "to an avowed enemy of the United States - and someone who in his own right has snuffed out dissent and free speech - for movie financing smacks of radicalism and opportunism run amuck," Mack said. "That's [$19.7 million] he could spend on helping the people of his country get out of poverty."

Mack added that Chavez is not satisfied with keeping his policies confined to Venezuela.

"If you look at what he's doing in other countries in Latin America - how he's trying to influence elections and then give them a playbook on how to change the constitution and destroy the pillars of democracy... Chavez is desperate to try to influence - in a negative way - not only folks in his country and Latin America, but also in the United States and around the world," Mack said.

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