ABC News
Novemver 4, 2002

Spielberg in Cuba Says Time for U.S. to Bury Grudges

HAVANA (Reuters) - Film director Steven Spielberg, visiting Cuba for the first time on Monday, said the United States should end its trade embargo against the communist-run island and allow more cultural interaction with Cubans.

"I personally feel that this embargo should be lifted. I do not see any reason for accepting old grudges being played out in the 21st Century," Spielberg said at a news conference.

"It does not make sense to me that my country will trade with North Korea and China, but not with Cuba."

Spielberg will meet with Cuban President Fidel Castro during his four-day visit to launch a festival of eight of his films. He will speak to Cuban filmmakers and students and meet with the Jewish community.

The director of "E.T." and "Jaws" said he was in Cuba to meet its "very rich and talented culture" and to understand the island better than he could watching documentaries and reading the newspaper. "We had to come for ourselves," he said.

Spielberg hopes his visit as cultural ambassador "sends a clear signal that we want more interaction between the creative community in Cuba and the creative community in the U.S."

As soon as he arrived in Havana, the director wanted to make a film in Cuba. As he drove into Havana from the airport, Spielberg said he turned to his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, and said: "I really want to make a movie here."

Washington has no diplomatic relations with Cuba and has enforced an embargo on the Caribbean island for four decades aimed at toppling Castro, in power since a 1959 revolution.

The political enmity between Havana and Washington has not stopped Hollywood stars -- such as Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone and Kevin Costner -- from visiting the socialist worker's state 90 miles off Florida.