Cuban-born actress Maria Conchita Alonso, who grew up in Venezuela and is a staunch opponent of President Hugo Chavez, plans to play a die-hard Chavez supporter in a film that takes a critical view of Latin America's most outspoken leader.
Alonso, a Hollywood veteran who has appeared in films including "Moscow on the Hudson" and "The House of the Spirits," said Monday that she will enjoy switching roles to play a passionate admirer of the president she deplores.
"It is not going to be very difficult to play a Chavista," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Washington. "You know, love and hate are very close to each other."
The film, "Two Minutes of Hate," is to include real footage of Chavez's speeches and his supporters firing guns from a bridge when chaos erupted at a large opposition march that led up to a short-lived 2002 coup.
Producer Edward Bass said he plans to begin shooting the film _ written by a Venezuelan who remains anonymous _ in Miami within three months. Bass said the concept is that "Venezuela is the Titanic, Chavez is the captain," and Alonso's character is in love with an anti-Chavez professor who in the semi-fictional account is among those shot and killed in 2002.
Alonso, whose parents left Cuba shortly after Fidel Castro came to power, lived in Venezuela from the age of 5, becoming a beauty queen and acclaimed actress. She moved to Los Angeles more than two decades ago to pursue her film career, and is now in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
She has no plans to return to Venezuela, saying it could be dangerous since she is outspoken in denouncing Chavez for what she calls neglecting Venezuelans' needs while using oil profits to "buy other countries."
Alonso said Chavez's authoritarian nature is shown by his refusal to renew the broadcast license of an opposition-aligned TV station, Radio Caracas Television. The channel is set to go off the air on May 28 _ to be replaced by a public service channel.
"It's terrible," said Alonso, who once appeared in soap operas produced by RCTV. "What better proof do we need to show the world that he's not a democrat? ... What he is, is a communist dictator."
Chavez, re-elected by a wide margin in December, accuses RCTV of backing plots against him and producing "grotesque shows" that promote consumerism and violence. The government insists there is complete freedom of speech, but Alonso called the RCTV case another attempt to "bring fear into people so they have to shut up."
Her brother, Robert Alonso, fled the country after the government in 2004 arrested more than 100 Colombians identified as paramilitary fighters, who they said had been hiding out on his ranch plotting to kill Chavez. He has denied wrongdoing.
"I believe he's done everything right, which is to fight for the Venezuelan people to know the truth of who Hugo Chavez is," the actress said.