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  HOME | Cuba

Fidel’s Estranged Daughter Says Time Not Right for Return to Cuba

MIAMI – Alina Fernandez Revuelta, the estranged daughter of Fidel Castro, said in an interview with Efe that despite the pain she feels over not being able to see her mother, the time is not right for a return to Cuba.

At 58, Alina Fernandez lives in Miami in a humble residence where she shares memories and shows photographs in which, dressed in white, she is embracing her father, a smiling Fidel Castro wearing his traditional olive green military uniform.

She fled Cuba in 1993 and, despite the time that has passed and the fact that the regulations for traveling to the island have been eased, Castro’s daughter has “the sensation and instinct” that she still should not return.

“I don’t want to have problems. At this age a person is less adventurous,” she told Efe with a certain amount of emotion and a long silence broken only to confess that she feels sadness and bitterness about the return that so far has been impossible: “It hurts me a lot, because my mother is older.”

Fernandez was born in 1956 to Fidel Castro and Natalia Revuelta, a socialite married to a prominent doctor.

“Seeing your mother and wanting to do something for her is a law of nature, it’s something visceral,” Alina said.

Her mother is 88, just a few months older than Castro, whose birthday is in August, but the feelings of a daughter for the man who heavily influenced her life and governed Cuba for half a century are completely different.

Asked how she feels about her father, Alina replied: “I suffered from my bullying and my punishments, and I consider him a person with a rather elevated level of cruelty, but I never came to hate him.”

Alina, who did not learn Castro was her father until she was 10 years old, says now that they never had a close relationship.

“Fidel Castro was not a father. Sometimes he landed at home. He was a capricious visitor, and he had attacks of paternity as well as long periods of distancing himself. He was an omnipresent gentleman on the television, in his speeches, but he was an absent father,” she explains.

Seated in the parlor of her house, serene and friendly, she displays a small cardboard box with dozens of photographs, very well arranged and cared for, in some of which a young Alina can be also seen with her uncle, Raul Castro, now Cuba’s president, and she recalls once again the sensations of a past with wounds that are “very difficult to heal.”

Fidel and Raul, she says, “are completely different.”

“Raul is a family man, who has been close to his children, and that says everything, and Fidel Castro is a type of solitary person and with few emotional roots,” Alina says.

Alina Fernandez, a model in Havana in her youth, a translator later in France and author of the book “Castro’s Daughter: An Exile’s Memoir of Cuba,” fled Cuba with a forged Spanish passport, wearing a wig and disguised as a tourist.

She has a 37-year-old daughter, also named Alina, who is a U.S. citizen and with whom she occasionally speaks about her grandfather, but the granddaughter has “the ability to see the positive side of everything” and travels every year to Cuba to see “the few friends that remain to her there.”

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