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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Stone's Castro film delayed
Oliver Stone
Stone's film was going to be shown next month

A US TV network has postponed an Oliver Stone documentary on Fidel Castro, following the Cuban leader's recent crackdown on dissidents.

Stone, best known for directing films such as Born On The Fourth of July and JFK, spent three days with President Castro in 2002 to make the film, which attempts to portray his "human figure".

But after his government jailed 75 political dissidents earlier this month following closed trials, executives at the HBO network put the film, Comandante, on hold.

"In light of recent alarming events in the country, the film seems somewhat dated or incomplete," HBO spokeswoman Lana Iny said.

She said the film, which had been due to air next month, was "still in the works".

Fidel Castro
President Castro's government has cracked down on dissidents

Governments and human rights groups have condemned Cuba for its crackdown on the opposition, while President Castro's government says it was acting to defend itself from a US-backed attempt to undermine it.

Also as part of the crackdown, three men who hijacked a ferry full of passengers in a bid to get to the US were executed.

HBO said it was talking to Stone about "going back to Cuba" to pose questions to President Castro about the arrests and executions.

"We'll have to look at what Oliver's able to do," Ms Iny said.

At February's Berlin Film Festival, where the film was screened, Stone said of Castro: "We should look to him as one of the Earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult."

A spokesman for Stone said he had no response to HBO's decision.

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