Web posted at: 10/28/2009 8:55:6
Source ::: THE GUARDIAN
HAVANA: The actor Sean Penn has flown to Cuba to chase what would be the
biggest scoop of his career as a part-time journalist: an interview with
The Oscar winner, who last year bagged interviews with Raul Castro and
Hugo Chavez, is reportedly on assignment for Vanity Fair in his quest to
meet Cuba's former president. In a sign of Havana's approval, the
communist party newspaper, Granma, covered Penn's visit on Monday to the
Island of Youth, where he visited a gallery and met artists.
According to the online magazine tmz.com, Penn hopes to ask Fidel about
Cuba's evolving relationship with the Obama administration. The
interview, which has not been confirmed, would be a coup for the star's
brand of activist journalism. No western journalist has seen, let alone
interviewed, the 83-year-old leader since an intestinal illness forced
him from public view three years ago. Fidel stepped aside from the
presidency but remains influential in Cuba.
Penn, an outspoken liberal and anti-war activist, took a break from
filming to visit Iraq as a journalist in 2004. He followed up with a
visit to Iran the following year and then befriended Chavez. Venezuela's
socialist president, who seldom gives interviews, also arranged an
interview with Raul Castro, Cuba's interview-shy president. The stories
were published in the Nation and Huffington Post.
Critics say the actor is too soft in the interviews and should leave
journalism to professionals. "Why does someone like Penn think he can do
this job, which isn't his job?" asked the New Yorker.
Chavez and the Castros also opened their doors to Oliver Stone, another
The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily (28 October 2009)