Netflix Sued Over Depiction of Cuban Exiles in ‘Wasp Network’

Gene Maddaus
·2-min read

A Cuban exile filed a defamation suit against Netflix on Wednesday, alleging she was portrayed as a promiscuous “party girl” in a film about a Cuban spy ring in South Florida.

Ana Margarita Martinez filed suit in federal court in Miami, alleging that the film, “Wasp Network,” romanticized the clandestine operations of Fidel Castro’s regime, and downplayed its crimes.

She also named the film’s director, Olivier Assayas, as a defendant.

Martinez fled Cuba as a child in the 1960s, and was active in the anti-Castro exile community in the 1990s. She married Juan Pablo Roque, another Cuban exile who was later revealed to be a Cuban spy. According to the complaint, Roque used the sham marriage to Martinez to establish his cover and to spy on the exiles.

The film was shot with the cooperation of the Cuban government, and centers on the exploits of spies who operated in Miami. The suit argues that the Cuban exiles in Florida are falsely maligned as terrorists.

According to the complaint, Martinez was also falsely portrayed as living a “lavish lifestyle paid for by drug money and terrorist activities.” In reality, she says she was a hard-working mother who had to support her husband financially.

Martinez says she was devastated when her husband abruptly returned to Cuba in 1996, and was revealed to be an agent for the Castro regime. She has not seen him since.

“Defendants are willfully damaging Ms. Martinez’s name and reputation while re-traumatizing her by bringing to fore events of the past that significantly disrupted the course of her life,” the suit states.

The suit also contends that the film’s casting of Ana de Armas as Martinez was defamatory. Martinez alleges that the casting reinforces a false narrative that she engaged in “sexually immoral or unchaste conduct.”

Martinez also claims that the film includes an elaborate “‘Godfather’ style” wedding scene that never took place, and that she was depicted as a willing beneficiary of the profits of drug trafficking.

Martinez also faults the film for leaving many things out.

“The Film conceals the fact that Ms. Martinez was a victim of sexual assault conceived and implemented with cold-blooded efficiency by an agent of Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior,” the suit states.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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