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Castro's Daughter Speaks At BC

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Dressed head to toe in vibrant red, Alina Fernandez, daughter of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, spoke in Higgins 300 Thursday evening. Sponsored by the Cuban American Student Association, (CASA) Fernandez fluidly interwove her personal story with what she referred to as the “endless revolution” in Cuba for 50 minutes.

Growing up on different sides of the island, Castro and Fernandez’s mother had distinctly separate lives before great change affected Cuba. It was after Batista took control of the government that Castro took action and led the underground opposition movement called “The Movement,” which led to his time in jail. It was here that Castro met Fernandez’s mother and subsequently fell in love through a series of letters.

After being released from jail, Castro and Fernandez’s mother secretly met and conceived a child, Alina. For many years, Fernandez believed that her mother’s husband, Dr. Orlando Fernandez, was her biological father. She vividly remembers watching cartoons when suddenly the screen switched to people yelling “Viva Cuba Libre,” and eventually to a mesmerizing bearded man giving long speeches on TV. The cartoons never returned to Cuban television.

Castro had a record year as a communist leader. He fostered an intense hatred of America within his country and created an atmosphere of fear and tension. Internationally, Castro made connections with countries like China, Russia, and Venezuela to become strong allies.

Fernandez learned, at 10 years old, that Castro, “the man who stepped out of the TV,” was her real father. He would visit at night, and it created a bizarre atmosphere for her as a child. Her mother was in love with him, while her grandmother called him “the devil.” For years, she tried to live a normal life and “escape her circumstance” under the name Fernandez. After marrying, remarrying, and trying a few careers, Fernandez conceived her daughter.

In 1989, Fernandez joined the dissident movement, saying, “A country becomes a dictatorship when the government affects personal life and, when you try to change anything, you are sent to jail.” It was after the fall of the Soviet Union when things began to worsen in Cuba. One major impact was that there was no longer an education available for her daughter.

On December 19, 1993, disguised as Spanish tourists, Fernandez and her daughter separately fled the country to meet friends in the United States. They reunited on December 31, 1993 to celebrate the New Year together

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