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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Alina Fernandez, Daughter of Castro, Speaks at SU March 8

SALISBURY, MD---Alina Fernandez, the daughter of Cuban President Fidel Castro, speaks on growing up as the child of one of the world’s most infamous leaders and the events that eventually led her to renounce his reign 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center at Salisbury University.

As a little girl in Cuba, Alina Fernandez found nothing strange about the many visits Fidel Castro made to her home. During these visits, Castro would pay special attention to Fernandez, many times even bringing her gifts. At age 10, Fernandez’ mother finally divulged the reason for Castro's attention: Fidel Castro was her father.

Born in 1956, Fernandez was a child in the years just before and immediately following the revolution of 1959. As the revolution's events unfolded, Fernandez came to realize that, depending on his mood, Castro treated his illegitimate daughter with one of two extreme feelings—utter adoration or painful neglect. Through the years, however, Castro’s influence as an authority figure in Fernandez’ life never diminished. As she grew older, she recognized her position as one of Cuba's elite—but the political practices she witnessed under her father's regime and the neglect she experienced drove her to renounce that position and, ultimately, her relationship with her father as well.

Fernandez finally was forced to leave her homeland and to seek refuge in the United States. In 1998 St. Martin's Press published her story, Castro's Daughter: An Exile's Memoir of Cuba. In her talk, Fernandez shares the extraordinary story of her experiences growing up in the shadow of Fidel Castro.

Fernandez is a former model and public relations director for a Cuban fashion company. She has not spoken with her father in over a decade. After escaping to Spain she eventually moved to Miami where she hosts a daily radio program on Cuban and Cuban-American issues. Sponsored by the Student Organization for Activity Planning (SOAP), Fernandez’ talk is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu. "



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