Fidel Castro’s daughter recalls Cuban childhood at Georgian Court University
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 in Cuba.
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,” she said.
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 still safe.”
Amanda Oglesby: 732-557-5701; firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Fidel Castro’s daughter recalls Cuban childhood at Georgian Court University | The Asbury Park Press NJ | app.com – http://www.app.com/article/20140320/NJNEWS1502/303200021&source=rss