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Cuba: Castro vs the World review – a triumph of historical illumination

The conclusion of this two-part documentary charted the end of the Soviet Union to the Clinton years and beyond, with the former US president joining a superb cast of talking heads

It’s been so long since I experienced it – either personally or simply as a possibility in the wider world – that for a minute or two I couldn’t identify the feeling that arrived as Cuba: Castro vs the World (BBC Two) concluded. It was, I realised after rummaging through distant memory, the sense of having become better informed about some aspect of the world rather than even more flailingly confused about it.

The two-hour film, produced by Norma Percy (The Death of Yugoslavia, Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil) traced the history of Cuba from 1959, when “the bearded men from the mountains” – led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara – vanquished US-backed military dictator Fulgencio Batista and began a revolution that would prove it is not the size of your country that matters, it’s what you do with it.

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