Watch: Brothers in Exile

Photo Credit: ESPN

Brothers in Exile follows the incredible journey of two Cuban half-brothers who use their exceptional talents as baseball pitchers to escape communism and play in the major leagues.

By David Díaz

What Is It About? Brothers in Exile (part of the ESPN “30 for 30” series) follows the journey of Cuban baseball pitchers and half-brothers Livan and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez as they make their escape from Cuba to the United States. The documentary retells the harrowing experiences of the brothers and their families as they search for a better life.

Half brothers Livan and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez live in Cuba as baseball pitchers for the communist regime, traveling across the country and the world to show off the island nation’s baseball might. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic subsidies from the Soviet Union to the Cuban government abruptly stop, and the nation is left in financial ruin. Poverty, shortages of nearly all goods, and lack of trust in the government are endemic. Livan Hernandez defects and travels to the United States to play professionally. Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez is then forced to deal with the consequences of his half-brother’s decision, the ire of the Cuban government, and the safety of his family. El Duque’s harrowing journey and the challenges he faces showcase the indomitable spirit of the Cuban people. The film ultimately presents the lengths that people will go to in the pursuit of freedom for themselves and their loved ones.

Why We Like It:

  • Brothers in Exile documents the spirit of the Cuban people to seek freedom from violence and government oppression, whatever the cost. Although the movie focuses on the journey of two Cuban brothers, many in the Hispanic/Latino(x) community will see parts of their own struggle in the brothers’ fight for freedom. 
  • The movie shines a light on the way in which oppressive governments use family relationships as a weapon to control their citizens. When one member of a family fights for human rights or defects, the others are punished.
  • The footage of the brothers in Cuba and America, both in the 90s and in modern-day America, allows viewers to see for themselves what life is like for most Cubans, but also how many immigrants sacrifice everything you know and love to live in freedom.    

[YouTube ($1.99), Amazon Prime Video ($3.99), Disney+, Hulu Premium]