Fidel Castro's daughter recalls Cuban childhood at Georgian Court University
Woman recalls fears growing up in Cuba
Mar. 20, 2014
Alina Fernandez spoke about her father, Fidel Castro, and life in Cuba
under his reign. Fernandez (center) stands with Georgian Court
University students (from left) Jill Behan, Jamie-Lee Sonnenberg Smith,
Marisa Guerra, and Amanda Earle.
LAKEWOOD — As the daughter of Fidel Castro, Alina Fernandez might have
joined her fellow uniform-wearing, slogan-shouting pro-Communist youths
But Fernandez, the daughter of a secret affair between Castro and her
mother, turned against the government her father controlled.
"Everything was messed up around me," Fernandez recalled while speaking
to an audience at Georgian Court University on March 11.
Fernandez was a child when the revolution rocked Cuba, changing
television, dividing families and eradicating religion. After the
initial optimism of the revolution faded, Castro and his government
exerted tight control over every aspect of life, she said. Stores
closed. Food rationing began. Many children were removed from their
parents, she said.
"I saw a blindfolded man standing in front of the wall. His hands were
tied, his white shirt worked over with dark spots. And it took me more
than 30 years to understand that we had witnessed an execution," she
recalled to the audience. "I felt like I was living in a sanitarium."
When she tried to appeal to her father by handing him letters from
Cubans needing help, he dismissed the letters as "words of traitors,"
Things only became harder when the Soviet Union fell, and aid to Cuba
disappeared, she said. In 1993, she finally fled the nation, and has
since written a memoir and worked to educate others about life in Cuba
after the revolution.
Twenty years have passed since Fernandez last visited her home country,
and she has no urge to go back, she said.
"I had such a bad time there," she recalled. "I don't feel that it's
Amanda Oglesby: 732-557-5701; email@example.com
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