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While many leaders around the world begin their preparations to visit Cuba, to pay their respected to Fidel Castro, one person will not be there: Juanita Castro, Fidel’s sister who has been in exile in Miami for 51 years.

In 1964, Juanita accused her brother of turning Cuba into “an enormous prison surrounded by water’.

Despite expressing sorrow over the death of her brother, she said on Saturday she wouldn’t be returning to Cuba in her lifetime. She also put rumors to rest that she would be heading to Cuba for the memorial and said she will remain in the United States, the Miami Herald reported.She said she remained committed to the Cuban exile community and opposed to the dictatorship her late brother imposed on the island when he seized power in 1959.

Exiled in Miami since 1964, Juanita, 83, said in a statement that she was upset by the news early Saturday. At the same time, she hoped that his death at age 90 is a turning point in which all Cubans find common ground.

‘In light of the bad rumors that said I was going to go to Cuba for the funeral, I want to clarify that I have never returned to the island, nor do I have plans to do so.

‘I have fought alongside exiles, arm and arm, during their most active and intense stages of struggle in past decades, and I respect the feelings of all,’ Juanita said in a statement.

‘I do not rejoice over the death of any human being, much less when that person is someone with my blood and surnames.

“I’ve been in exile in Miami for 51 years, like all the Cubans who left to find a space to fight for the freedom of their country,” Juanita Castro said. “I have never changed my position even though I had to pay a high price for the pain and isolation.”

“For decades, I confronted the system in Cuba and also those in exile who unfairly did not forgive that my surnames were Castro Ruz and who attacked me ruthlessly,” she said.

She asked for understanding for her pain and expressed hope that her brother’s death brings about an understanding among all Cubans.


Published in News about Cuba

On November 25, 2016 at 10:29 pm Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, better known as Fidel Castro or “ Fidel,",died. His death was greeted with cheers of joy by most of the Cuban community in exile, especially those in Miami’s Little Havana. In Cuba the mood was more somber and without any celebration.

La Historia lo Absolverá (History will absolve him)

After taking power in 1959 following the Cuban Revolution, Castro oversaw vast improvements in providing of basic services, such as health care and housing, as well as education and advances in literacy across the island. 

La Historia lo Condenará (History will condemn him) 

Despite these achievements in areas of social policy, Fidel Castro’s government was characterized by a ruthless suppression of freedom of expression, severe economic hardships and widespread suffering.  Over the years hundreds of people were arrested for peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Repressive tactics used by the authorities have changed in the last years with fewer people sentenced to long-term prison for politically motivated reasons, but the control of the state over all the aspects of Cubans’ life remain a reality.

The Cuban  government continues to limit Internet use as a way of controlling access to information and freedom of expression, with just 25 percent of Cubans having access to the Internet and barely 5 percent of homes connected to the global computer network.

Initially, Fidel promised liberties to the Cuban people but ended up betraying them. He decimated one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, destroyed the business class and pulverized the country’s productivity. Three generations and seventy percent of the people on the island today have never know any other leader but Fidel Castro. He improved the country’s education and health care systems but failed to provide the country’s healthy and educated  people with a means whereby they could be productive, have incentives, better their lives and be part of a middle class. 

During Castro’s forty-seven years in power he executed thousands of his adversaries and kept political dissidents and opponents in jail for many years. He harassed and even prosecuted people for listening to foreign music and for reading books and for even being homosexuals. Because of his policies twenty percent of the Cuban population ended up living in exile. 

Thousands of Cuban soldiers died as cannon fodder in foreign countries like Angola in an effort to spread the Cuba-style revolution and ideology to other countries. Castro was responsible for the rise of Latin American wannabes like Hugo Chavez, his successor Nicolás Maduro, and the likes of Daniel Ortega who has not done anything to improve Nicaragua  and keep it from being the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti.

Now that the cloud and omnipresence of Fidel is no longer looming over Cuba there is hope that the country’s plight will improve in the not-too-distant future. Although Fidel officially retired in 2006 due to illness, his presence was always in the background. With his death the political system will eventually open up because Raul Castro should finally have the weight of Fidel off his shoulders. He will have more freedom and room to make changes without his older brother influence. However, Fidel’s death will surely lead to to many conflicts between Raúl and his political opponents as to what direction the country should take. But one really has to wait and see what happens after Raúl is expected to step down in 2018.

Published in News about Cuba
Monday, 15 August 2016 10:37

Castro’s Birthday

Yesterday, August 27, Fidel Castro turned 90 years old. He is undoubtedly one of the most controversial figures of our time. Both hated and worshiped Castro has turned out to be a survivor. It has been 57 years since he took power, 54 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis which almost caused World War III and ten years since he turned over power to his brother Raúl due to a personal health crisis.

In 2011 Castro stated, "I never thought I’d live so long. Soon my time will come just like everyone else.”

He was 32 years old when he triumphantly marched into Havana after defeating an army of 80,000 men with a smaller guerrilla force and driving then dictator, Fulgencio Batista into exile.

Over the years Castro has survived despite at least 634 plots to kill him and overthrow his government, according to Fabián Escalante, the ex head of Cuban Intelligence.

Published in News about Cuba

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