Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fidel Castro's daughter visits Pittsburgh

Nearly a year ago the students at the Ellis school in Shadyside decided to invite the daughter of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro to come speak because they thought her decision to leave Cuba and denounce the regime was interesting. Today Alina Fernandez will go before the student body at a time of change in her birthplace. She was born three years before the revolution and did not know her dad was Fidel Castro until she was 10 years old. Fernandez says it was in her teens that she started to understand that the politics of her father was not what she wanted to support. She says then in 1993 when times were tough in Cuba because support from the Soviet Union had dried up she decided she had to leave. She says she tried to get out many times and was finally successful when she disguised herself and her daughter and French tourists. She says change will be very slow with Raul Castro in power. She thinks there will be some loosening of central economic control and some free markets will be allowed to grow, much like has been seen in China, but she says change will be very slow. She says without much influence from the outside world the youth in Cuba may know that things are not right but they do not have what they need to rise up. Fernandez supports the US embargo even if it is weak and she says she is very much against US immigration policy toward Cuba.

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