Saul Landau, professor, activist, and author, died yesterday (see more below).
He died on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup that ousted democratically elected Allende and led to Gen. Pinochet’s reign of terror, atrocious Dirty Wars, turned the verb “disappeared” into a noun, and into which Landau was a leading investigator of human rights abuses.
In 1984, I had the great honor of studying Latin American History under Landau at the University of California, Davis. It was the height of the U.S.-funded wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. I was involved locally through my church in the Sanctuary movement to illegally harbor war refugees and the Pledge of Resistance movement that vowed to risk arrest if the U.S. invaded Nicaragua. It was Professor Landau that helped me put what I was doing at church into the context of U.S. history and the mechanics of Empire. I’ve still got the “text books” he assigned.
Thank you, Saul. Presente!
Democracy Now! has a brief recap of Professor Landau’s life and work:
The award-winning journalist, filmmaker, author and professor Saul Landau has died at the age of 77. His death was confirmed by the Institute for Policy Studies where he was a senior fellow and vice chair of the IPS board. Landau made more than 45 films and wrote 14 books, many about Cuba. “He stood up to dictators, right-wing Cuban assassins, pompous politicians, and critics from both the left and the right,” IPS Director John Cavanagh said in a statement from the group. “When he believed in something, nobody could make him back down. Those who tried would typically find themselves on the receiving end of a withering but humorous insult.”
Landau’s recent film, “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?” exposed U.S. support for violent anti-Castro militants. Last year, Landau appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the history of the Cuban Five and U.S. support for a group of anti-Castro militants who have been behind the bombing of airplanes, the blowing up of hotels and assassinations. Today, they are allowed to live freely in the United States. “What did Cuba do to us?,” Landau asks. “Well, the answer, I think, is that they were disobedient, in our hemisphere. And they did not ask permission to take away property. They took it away. They nationalized property. And the United States … has never forgiven them.”
See more from Democracy Now! on Landau.
Activist Filmmaker Saul Landau Dies, 77 (Washington Post)