Under Fire CD1
Popular resistance to a series of unpopular dictators was growing in Nicaragua for over 50 years. By the spring of 1979, Nicaraguans from all walks of life joined together in a final attempt to overthrow President Anastasio "Tacho" Somoza. As the fighting got worse in Central America, journalists throughout the world began to realize this could become a
CHAD, AFRICA, 1979
- Can I get a ride? - Allez-y voir le camion.
Hey, Pricey. You tuna-sucking piece of raw meat, get your ass over here.
Sit down here.
- How you doin'? - Good.
Good to see you. What the hell you going to Zambeze for?
I thought I'd get some great shots of your head being blown to smithereens.
- Thought you were with the government. - I am.
- This is the government. - These are the rebels.
The fuck they are. This is a government convoy to Calunda.
This is the Abou Deian revolutionary front.
You're shittin' me.
They'd be pissed off if they knew.
This is the dumbest motherfucker I ever signed up for, man. It don't even pay shit.
Nicaragua. That's the spot.
Cheap shrimp, lotta rays.
It's real thin in the spook department too. You dig me?
Price, I don't what you're doin', but you'd better get your ass down here.
Come on, man. You're gonna get ripped to shit.
Oates, what the hell is this?
The US government offers that house to any Cuban pilot flying MiGs for the rebels
who chooses to defect to America with a Russian jet.
- But that's bullshit. - We know that, but they don't.
They figure the Cubies will go for that pool, so they don't let them near the jets.
The rebels can't fly MiGs.
Pricey, that's the point. They destroy their own air force.
It's an old scam, but it's guaran-fuckin'- teed.
- Who is this? CIA? - Yeah.
The smartest guys in the world.
I guess we found out where the government is.
You can walk to work from here.
What a break.
I guess I'll get goin'. Take care. Be careful.
I love Africa.
So this strange war grinds into its seventh year.
From Ndjamena, Chad, this is Claire Sheridan.
No, no, you didn't hear any music. It must be the connection.
OK. Yes. Goodbye.
Alex, don't play that goddamn thing when I'm filing. We're late.
It's my party. We'll be late.
You called it a strange war.
If you filed that story with me, I would say you were editorialising.
Well, I like to editorialise.
- Are you drunk? - Drunk?
Only with the memory of making love to you on the plains of Fianga,
with the First Liberation Army marching by, and opening fire.
- We freed the proletariat? - And we freed...
I'm going to the party without you.
I don't wanna go to this party. I'm bad at false modesty.
- You're great at it. - You're right, I am.
Alex, you're gonna make a great anchorman in New York.
Undoubtedly I could win an Emmy as a hostess, but I'm not going with you.
You could operate out of New York. We could buy a place, burn our suitcases.
I still like suitcases.
I'm tired of memorising the President of the Republic of Maldives.
- You tired of Third-World wars? - No, I'm tired of Third-World elevators.
Don't leave me.
I have to, Alex.
Fuck Abou Deia and New York. I'm goin' to Nicaragua with you.
- No! - It's a neat little war and a nice hotel.
Come on! Yeah!
All right, I want you to know this is the man that hired me for my first job.
And fired you from your first job.
- And then hired me for my second job. - And fired you!
Some of you may be asking yourself "What am I doing in this strange war?"
Another chapter in an endless struggle that's grinding into its seventh year.
But who of us can forget the giant struggle on the plains of Fianga?
The give and take, the lunging,
the parrying for position, the jockeying around, knowing full well...
Thank you very much. Look at this.
# You beside me here beneath the blue
# My dream of love is coming true
# Within our desert caravan
# Night and stars above are shining bright
Oh, excuse me. I didn't know you were in here.
Yes, you did. You were taking pictures of me all over the room.
Well, you know...
- Jeez, you look great. - Thanks.
This is for Alex.
That's lovely, but it's not the best thing you could give him right now.
- Why not? - We just split up.
- Who split up from who this time? - This time?
This time I'm the villain.
I thought it would be cleaner with me in Central America and him in New York.
Did he shout about burning your suitcases?
I don't own any suitcases. There's nothing to burn.
This is a great shot.
Yes, it is.
- Vamos. - Síganme.
¡Rafael! ¡Rafael libre!
¡Rafael! ¡Rafael! ¡Rafael!
- Hey, Russel. How are you? - Hey!
- Ah... Welcome to Managua. - Did you have anything to do with that?
Well, I thought of calling your photographs "The Pictures of a Lost War".
The New York editors loved it, since they didn't know where Chad was.
It kinda legitimised their ignorance.
You got your cover, I got a feature.
A class struggle in three little words. Nifty, huh?
Nifty, I say.
- I'm Russel Price. - This is Isela Cruz.
She works at the hotel, also as a translator.
You guys have a few problems down here,
between the "poets"...
and the government?
Problems? Down here it's called a war.
It started in 1930, before you were born...
Excuse me. My Spanish is not good. What did he say?
He said he considers it an honour to be able to photograph our war.
- He's got a real way with words. - I can tell.
- You're a hell of a translator. - I know.
I'm much in demand around here. Will you excuse me?
- If you have any questions, just ask. - Who's Rafael?
Depends on who you ask.
Rafael. Comandante Rafael.
He is either a Marxist dupe of Russia and Cuba
or the most popular leader of a democratic revolution. Take your pick.
Hell of a face. Would he like to be photographed?
- You would never find him. - Wanna bet?
You would lose. He's never been photographed.
- Congratulations on your elephants. - Oh, thank you.
So far, Alex, this war has the hell beat out of Africa.
- You're gonna have a ball. - Alex!
Hands off, OK? I need a translator much more than you do right now.
Aren't you hangin' in there with Claire?
I'm hangin' in there, like an interim post-war government
waiting for the palace to be overrun by younger men.
Yeah, Russel. You know, I still only have one major weakness.
- Oh, only one? - Yeah. I hold onto things too long.
I'm too loyal.
OK, Alex, listen. Jody borrowed 100 rials from me in Tehran.
I owe 40 bucks to Dick, and he'll pay me in lire for a future in pesos. Good rate.
But you gotta pay Eddie in dollars, so I can square it with Chuck.
We got it all worked out - cash.
- You take Nicaraguan? - No cordobas.
But I'll go double or nothing with you on the whole pile.
November 2nd, 1963.
Martin Luther King - "I have a dream. "
- Diem was assassinated. - Oh, shit!
How'd you know that?
- Your first cover. - First cover. Right.
# Moonlight in Vermont
Otra vez falló.
- I'm sorry. Sometimes the flash... - Maybe I can fix it.
Thank you very much.
Señoras y señores, quiero invitar a este escenario a un gran amigo mío.
Su nombre es Alex. Alex, please come here.
- That's you. - Not many places where I can still play.
Oh, that's great.
I like it.
# Spring is here, no mistakin'
Well, I just got off the boat. Give me the scoop on Nicaragua.
Well, about 60 years ago, the US marines invaded
to protect American business interests.
Put down a small peasant revolt led by a very small man named Augusto Sandino.
No, no, no. I don't mean the peasant stuff. I mean the real stuff.
Well, there are two kinds of beer: Tona and Victoria. Victoria's better.
And two... watch out for Miss Panama.
Hot, hot, hot, but don't touch.
She belongs to Tacho.
El presidente has said that if he catches anybody with her, he will cut off his...
- Pecker? - Right. And throw it in Lake Managua.
# I know the tune This is love, this is it
You're gonna love this war. There's good guys, bad guys, and cheap shrimp.
And Alex singing in the background.
We've gotta get alone somewhere.
# Around the New Year
# Now it's safe for lovers just to go
Jesus, he's doing that on purpose.
Alex is one of the world's experts on military strategy, you know.
# Spring can really hang you up the most
- Price! - Regis.
Congratulations on the African snaps.
Hello, Claire. Haven't seen you since, uh...
- Three Mile Island? - Yes. Holiday Inn, right?
Well, look who walked in.
Before you fall in love, that's Marcel Jazy, friend of wine, women, and Somoza.
Yeah, I know. He's also a businessman in search of a business,
who doesn't try to cover up his connection to Washington.
I like his connection in Nicaragua tonight.
But look at those moves. Can the CIA light cigarettes like that?
# One more
Champagne. Thought we might make a toast.
Please to stay at your table... and you won't be hurt.
No se muevan.
We don't want to waste ammunition on someone like you.
- What do you want? - Shut up!
Come with us. We won't hurt you.
We'll trade you for some Nicaraguans who care about their country.
Hold on. Alex, it's Charlie from New York.
He says a nightclub bombing isn't big enough to hold for the world section.
There were bits of body in the piano and the song was "Moonlight in Vermont".
- What's he got better than that? - He's got the Pope in Egypt.
Forget the Pope. You got the Pope someplace every week.
There's a big story down here, because it's the first sign of fighting in Managua.
Get a map, Charlie. Look up Nicaragua.
You drive to New Orleans and then you turn left.
Oh, like hell I'm editorialising. Look, it happened in a room full of press and CIA.
How do I know they were CIA? Because they wore name tags. What do you think?
We're backing a fascist government. I know that's not news,
but see if you can find an angle, huh?
Alex, there's fascist and there's fascist. Let's not use words like that, OK?
No, we don't have any pictures of Rafael, because nobody knows where he is.
Anybody crazy enough to go and look for him is gonna get his nuts shot off.
Same to you, Charlie.
- What do you want? - We've met, Alex.
Hub Kittle, from Lewitsky and Knupp, New York, public relations.
- I have a client down here. - Who's your client?
Yeah, I know, I know, but there's an untold story here.
The man has a point of view too, right?
You're, uh... Price, right? Russel?
I need to know whether Russian or Cuban-made guns were brought in.
If the guerillas had help, the war would have ended long ago.
- Well, that's fine, but we need proof. - Claire!
It's your daughter from Los Angeles.
Hello, darling. How are you?
Has your grandmother spoiled you silly by now?
She has? Great.
Yes, I got the letter with the picture of your dress.
You don't think it's cut a little too low?
You don't, huh? Well, I do.
You're under arrest.
I'm a journalist. Periodista. Periodista. Here, I got my passport.
You take too many pictures.
Wake up, Priest, son of a whore.
You're a priest, huh? A padre?
What are you doing here?
The government accused me of knowing Rafael.
Governments are always wrong, huh?
- Who are you? - Periodista.
I'd like to find Rafael myself.
- Whose side are you on? - I don't take sides, I take pictures.
- Espérate aquí. - Sí.
Mr Price. It was all a misunderstanding.
Before you go, you will sign some papers.
- What papers? - Your visitation papers, Mr Price.
You were not arrested. You just came to visit, in case your embassy asks.
You want your passport back, yes?
- You OK? - I'm fine.
- How'd you know where to find me? - Where else? What happened?
Oh, I was just visiting. Jazy was there. I think he had me released.
- Jazy? Think there's a story? - I don't know. But I can start looking.
- Looking for what? - I'm gonna find Rafael.
Now, Russel, we have to be clever with Jazy.
Don't worry. I won't come right out and ask him if he's a spy or not.
- Are you a spy or aren't you? - Spy is such a nonword, Mr Price.
- Nobody is a spy any more. - Russel prefers pictures to words.
You don't have to apologise. You are journalists.
- And you're a businessman? - A businessman...
That sounds good. OK, I'm a businessman.
Why was I arrested and then released? Who the hell are you?
- No water? - No, no water.
Marcel, you told me there'd be water in the pool this week.
If she dove in, I assure you she would not notice.
My darling, the guerillas destroyed the pumping station in Masaya.
We must ration water for now.
Maybe I should go back to Panama?
Maybe you should.
You were arrested because the Guardia are clowns who specialise in excess.
You were released because I told them to release you.
Those aren't the normal duties of a businessman.
But they are the normal duties of a spy.
You win, I am a spy.
There, are you happy? I feel better.
Now we can relax. You can turn off your little thing.
Oh, I trust you won't say anything to hurt me.
Why would we wanna do that?
In some ways, I am a terrible spy.
I used to be much better at it, but now it seems everyone knows who I am.
I have too many girlfriends.
I like to be photographed.
I talk too much. I always talk too much.
But my girlfriends like that.
- No matter. - Marcel?
- Do you know who she is? - No.
That's Miss Panama. Do you know who that is?
Yes, I do.
She's in love with me.
I've got to get some water in the pool.
And once a week I have lunch with President Somoza
to discuss security measures against the Sandinista insurgents,
and all he wants to talk about is Miss Panama.
He is worried about her.
- He thinks she's seeing another man? - He assigned me to find out who he is.
We all know the revolutionaries are going to win.
You know, I saw this picture on a leaflet in Africa.
You know what they all say about it?
That you're the genius that created that idea.
It was a lot of people's idea.
Have you been to León?
- No. - No, we're going to Masaya.
We understand the rebels have entered the cuartel.
You would love León. A nice cathedral. Beautiful light.
- We're not doing a travelogue. - Of course, of course.
Only I have heard that Comandante Rafael was recently in the area.
- Rafael's near León? - Well, it's a rumour. What do I know?
Marcel, estoy desamparada.
- She's lonely. - Well, we don't want to keep you.
It's my job.
Do you think I talk too much?
So Rafael's near León.
Did you dream about Miss Panama last night?
No. I dreamed about you.
- Did you have a good time? - Yeah. So did you.
Is that an old war injury flaring up?
- Is that tape recorder on? - Absolutely.
I was sunning myself on the USS Pueblo when the North Koreans attacked.
I took a bullet in the chest. But I was lucky.
I had a roll of Ektachrome in my pocket here over my heart...
And the bullet ricocheted over the film and grazed your cheek...
Saved my life. You heard about it, huh?
- Do you ever dream about me? - Yeah, once.
How was it?
- How fast? - Real fast.
You mean this fast?
That's another Rafael sign.
LEÓN PROVINCIAL CAPITAL
It's June 10th. The evacuation of León.
Signs for the FSLN are everywhere.
A woman carries a pig.
Do you want photographs?
Come with us.
- You must help us one more time. - For León, for Nicaragua.
No, I don't want to.
- Americans? - Yes.
Pedro, there's no time to waste.
When you get back to the States, I want you give this ball to Dennis Martinez,
- from me, sí? Dennis Martinez, sí? - Dennis Martinez.
Enrique is dead. The Guardia control the church and we need your help.
- You come. You come, huh? - Yes.
Use the back way.
The Guardia have the stairs covered. Go through the courtyard.
It's not safe. Come with me.
Aquí, aquí. Rápido.
¡A la torre!
- Por aquí. - Ya los vi.
Bring out your dead and wounded.
Price, is that you?
- You motherfucker, Price, is that you? - Yeah.
Where are those bastards? They away?
- You all right? - Yeah. It's not my blood.
- Man, that kid's got a good arm. - Yeah.
- What the fuck are you doing here? - What the fuck are you doing here?
Man, my ears are freakin' out.
You're lookin' good.
- How do you like Nicaragua? - It's beautiful.
Yeah, there's a shitload of greasers, though.
No queda nadie.
- Pricey, I'll see you later, man. - Yeah.
¡Se acabó, vámonos!
- You OK? - Yeah, I'm fine.
The kid's got a hell of an arm.
Sandy Koufax, no?
- Gracias, padre. - De nada. Vayan con Dios.
Koufax was good.
But Dennis Martinez, he is the best.
He's from Nicaragua.
He pitches major leagues.
- I'd like to find Rafael. - He was here, but he's gone.
He's going to Matagalpa, no?
You control a baseball better than your words.
Rafael cannot be found. You understand, compañeros?
What's Rafael doing in Matagalpa?
Just keep your talk to baseball.
You see Dennis Martinez, you tell him that my curve ball is better,
that I have a good scroogie.
I like Sandinistas.
And I like Baltimore Orioles.
- What are we gonna do about him? - He's dead.
You can't believe everything you hear in the news.
I think about you all the time. I'll try and get back before you graduate.
I love you very, very much.
I'll finish this up back at the hotel, honey. Bye-bye now.
I know who shot Pedro.
Somebody in the bell tower.
- Why didn't you tell the guerillas? - Because I knew they'd kill him.
And I didn't wanna interfere.
It wasn't an easy choice.
I think I made the wrong one.
Do you know that you didn't shoot any pictures after that whole thing was over?
I didn't, did I?
Oh, Jesus, I picked up the gun.
Is something happening to us?
Yeah, I think so.
Yeah, I know.
- How was Matagalpa? - No bang-bang, Alex. None at all.
- Did you find anything? - Yeah. Half the press corps.
- Alex. - How you doing?
- How was León? - Bloody.
Claire, I'm tired of Nicaragua.
- You haven't been here very long. - Yeah.
You're right. Everybody's right.
My cheekbones. What do you think of 'em?
I like your cheekbones, Alex.
Is there anything the matter?
It's a face made for television.
You mean you decided to go with the network?
They're gonna give me ten grand a week to read the news.
I'm gonna be in 60 million homes every night.
When I take a breath, all of America will do so.
When my voice trembles, all of America will tremble.
I'm gonna be a star.
My voice will be more important than who controls Congress.
- You'll become a household name. - I'll become a household name.
I should never have come down here.
I'm sorry, Alex. I think it's a lot better this way.
It's all right. Don't worry about me.
I'm speaking in song titles.
- But promise me one thing. - I'll promise you anything.
No farewell parties. I don't wanna make a speech to anyone.
- Russel? - Russel who?
- Ça va bien? - Comment ça va?
You're running late, Mr President. We can schedule this for another time.
Nonsense. Let them wait.
We are a stunning couple, huh?
My stomach is like a rock. I've been working out.
Yes, we are a stunning couple.
Mr President, you own one fifth of the land in Nicaragua.
You own the port, the airlines, the Mercedes dealership...
Is it a crime to be a car dealer?
Let me show you something.
It's said that the Guardia operates a torture chamber at Coyotepe.
This is a portrait of my father.
He was very special to me.
Every Sunday morning I drive out to the cemetery and put flowers on his grave.
I think people should know that.
Would you comment on the fall of León to the rebels?
Listen, Russel. Let's grow up, huh? It's easy to fall in love with the underdog,
but there's an upside and a downside to this thing.
I just wanna remind you all this stuff about a "revolution of poets" is crap.
It's great PR though, isn't it, Hub?
So what's the upside?
Simple, and it could happen.
Somoza destroys the insurgents, rebuilds the country,
shitcans the purveyors of excess, stabilises the cordoba,
and is finally beloved as the saviour of Nicaragua. Our pal.
- You got a smoke? - Yeah.
- What's the downside? - Commies take over the world.
Excuse me, Russel, but the war may be over.
This is a democracy, and I have been freely elected by my people.
- There were more votes than voters... - ¡Presidente!
¿No me ven que estoy ocupado con esta señorita? Váyase de aquí.
I am sorry. I have to conclude this encounter. Something happened.
I have many more questions, Mr President...
Did he tell you about his parents and the graveyard?
- Yes, I know about that, but I'd like to... - Good, good.
- I'll just make sure everything's set up. - Sí, rápido.
My friends, this gathering was not supposed to be a press conference
as much as a get-together.
But I've just been handed a piece of news.
Rafael is dead.
He has been killed in an ambush near Matagalpa.
- Mr President! - How many people killed?
Sorry, my friends. No questions, please.
A press release is being prepared.
What do you think?
Tacho makes that speech about every six months. Maybe he got lucky.
- Hub, is this for real? - Yeah, sure.
Russel, excuse me, but Miss Panama would like her picture taken with Tacho.
- In colour? - OK. A little embarrassing, huh?
That'll be fine right there.
How in the hell could Tacho find Rafael?
Russel, please. I have my hands full.
That's fine right there.
Is Tacho lying again? They did kill him, didn't they?
What do I know?
Tacho needs a victory very badly.
He needs to prove to Jimmy Carter that he is still winning.
The death of Rafael is the proof he needs.
Carter doesn't need proof. He just sent 25 million in new arms to Tacho.
No, no. He didn't.
The State Department is getting nervous about what is going on down here.
En el sol, por favor.
Pardon my French, but whose fucking side are you on?
- I work for everybody. - That's a great job.
I send messages to Jimmy and I tell him that the revolution is a flood
which cannot be stopped, but it can be controlled.
Nobody listens to me.
I can't even get a little water in my pool.
Would you switch sides, please? For just one more.
That's very nice, very nice. Thank you.
I think Rafael is alive. I'm gonna find him.
Thank you very much.
MATAGALPA NORTHERN PROVINCE
- There's the guy we're lookin' for. - Terrific.
Go one more block.
Oh, shit! I'm not gonna die in Matagalpa.
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