The history of Puerto Rico has never been fully told. The world has seen Roots, Reds, Che, Gandhi, Braveheart, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Rob Roy, Selma, Malcolm X, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. But Borinquen and its heroes have been brushed aside for over a century.
Pedro Albizu Campos, Ramón Emeterio Betances, Roberto Cofresí, and El Aguila Blanca are rarely mentioned in our nation’s classrooms. El Grito de Lares, the Intentona de Yauco, the Ponce Massacre, the 1934 Sugarcane Strike, the Nationalist Revolution of 1950…none of these epic events have illuminated our nation’s movie screens.
Instead, we have received an endless parade of drug addicts, drug dealers, gangsters, prostitutes, maids, gardeners, and a Jewish comic who babbled “my name – José Jimenez.”
To top it off, there was Casa Paramount.
Casa Paramount, part of a 7,000 acre estate
In 1967, Gulf & Western Industries purchased South Porto Rico Sugar, which contained over 300,000 acres in Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Dominican Republic.
With these 300,000 acres, the owner of Gulf & Western, Charles Bluhdorn, decided to build himself a Caribbean kingdom. He called it Casa Paramount…because Gulf & Western also owned Paramount Pictures, the motion picture studio.
Casa Paramount was surrounded by 7,000 landscaped acres, a 5,000-seat amphitheatre, three golf courses, and the Altos de Chavón artist’s village.
All the interiors were designed by Oscar de la Renta.
Casa Paramount was a sexual playground for Paramount executives, billionaires, politicians, and movie stars. When visitors arrived, a phalanx of maids, gardeners and guards dressed in white posted themselves around the circular driveway to greet them.
Bluhdorn preferred to hire black employees. According to Don Simpson, the head of production for Paramount Pictures in the late 1970s, “Charlie had these black slaves in white linen uniforms with gold braid serving him drinks.”
After Bluhdorn’s death in 1983, Casa Paramount and its surrounding 7,000 acres were sold for approximately $300 million.
After a century of being invisible, and after decades of debauchery in Casa Paramount, the people of Puerto Rico deserve something better than this.
They deserve a revolutionary cinema of their own.
A cinema which tells their true history.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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