story synopsis

BRAVE THE TIDE is the story of four young lovers, two couples, in Havana and their struggles against the political, social and familial strife which conspire to keep them apart.  Woven into the fabric of Cuban history, beginning with the last years of Batista's tyranny and continuing with Fidel's revolution, right up through the Bay of Pigs invasion, this very personal story forms a tapestry of passion, adventure, betrayal, and ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit. 

Our story begins in 1953 with ROBERTO MEDINA, VIVIAN and IVAN's father, being brutally questioned by Batista's henchmen.  Captured during a failed attempt on the dictator's life, ROBERTO refuses to turn in his friend and accomplice, RAMÓN SOSA and is consequently tortured to death. 

Deeply shaken by his father's death, IVAN MEDINA, a rising professional baseball star, blows his one chance at signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He bitterly blames his father's death on RAMÓN.  It is this venom which fuels his hatred and resentment for RAMÓN's son, ARMANDO when the two eventually face each other on the playing field.

ARMANDO and VIVIAN MEDINA, IVAN's younger sister, meet and fall in love amidst the chaos and mayhem that accompanies the fall of Batista's government on the early dawn of New Year's day, 1959.  As their love grows and deepens throughout the revolution's first few months, so does their frustration about keeping their relationship a secret.  The Castro government's abolition of professional sports worsens their predicament as ARMANDO, now working as a laborer in a refinery, feels incapable of providing VIVIAN with anything but a bleak future.

Meanwhile, IVAN, equally out of work, and despondent about his disintegrated baseball career develops a bad attitude, and much to his girlfriend CARMEN's disdain, turns to alcohol.

The Revolutionary Government's announcement that it is forming a National Baseball Team offers the lovers a ray of hope, and with renewed vigor, they begin to make plans for the future.

At the same time, SERGIO, IVAN'S former teammate, and now an intelligence officer in the new regime, approaches his down-and-out friend and promises him he'll use his political influence to insure IVAN'S placement on the National Team, if IVAN agrees to inform on his fellow teammates while traveling abroad.  For his part, IVAN has to look good at the tryouts, so as not to expose the fix, and thus his cover.

Desperate for the opportunity to be in the baseball spotlight one last time, IVAN, in somewhat of a moral dilemma, nevertheless, takes his old friend up on the offer.  

At the tryouts, ARMANDO and IVAN face each other on the field once again.   A highly motivated ARMANDO performs flawlessly, repeatedly striking IVAN out and embarrassing him in front of fans and coaches alike.  The rumors that ARMANDO is making IVAN look bad has SERGIO step in once again and assure him that he'll personally take care of the problem.

With IVAN's tacit consent, SERGIO, motivated as much by his revolutionary zeal as by his unrequited infatuation with VIVIAN, arranges to have ARMANDO framed as a traitor.

ARMANDO's violent arrest and vicious interrogation at the hands of Castro's secret police, leaves him badly beaten, his pitching hand brutally shattered.

On a tip that ARMANDO's being transferred to El Morro Prison, VIVIAN, RAMÓN and several friends intercept the police van carrying him and stage a courageous rescue.  In the process, ARMANDO's two best friends, PEPE and AQUI are killed.  Finally, ARMANDO is smuggled out of the country aboard a boat bound for Miami, but not before he promises VIVIAN that he'll return for her.

VIVIAN, now estranged from her brother, moves into ARMANDO's old room on RAMÓN's farm.  The two of them join forces and begin publishing an underground newspaper denouncing the Castro regime.

IVAN, of course, has made the National Team, and in turn, has had a change in personality.  His newly acquired Revolutionary fervor has CARMEN'S suspicions aroused about his possible involvement in ARMANDO'S arrest.  She confronts him, only to have him deny that he had anything to do with the incident.

It's SERGIO who spearheads a raid of RAMÓN's farmhouse and the basement where the paper is published.  As he indifferently kills some of the workers, and has others, including RAMóN arrested and taken away,  he turns his attention to VIVIAN, whom he attempts to rape.   VIVIAN ends up shooting and killing him with his own gun.

In the U.S., ARMANDO struggles with the language, bigotry and most of all, his loneliness.  After learning of VIVIAN's disappearance and of RAMÓN's death in prison, he enlists in the Cuban exile army training for the Bay of Pigs invasion.

It's 1961, the day of the invasion.  Equipped with erroneous intelligence, bad planning, inadequate training and inferior weapons, the exile army's assault fails miserably.  Before they can reach dry land, most of them are either captured or killed by Castro's troops.   ARMANDO survives only to meet IVAN face to face again, this time, on the battlefield.  They struggle fiercely in hand-to-hand combat with ARMANDO, the victor, leaving IVAN for dead and making his way inland to find VIVIAN.

The climactic scene takes place at the lover's secret rendezvous where a crazed IVAN makes one last vicious attempt at killing ARMANDO.  He nearly succeeds, but in the end, it is he who is killed as the lovers are finally reunited and sail out to sea and their future together.