THE BLOG

Juanita Castro's Cuba

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Conchita Sarnoff Executive Director: Alliance To Rescue Victims of Trafficking.

They say there is no such thing as a coincidence. Today, after many moons of little faith I wholeheartedly believe. Flicking through the channels late the other night I stumbled upon Cristina Saralegui's talk-show program on Univision, a Spanish-language station I'm ashamed to say I never watch.

I'm ashamed simply because my mother tongue is Spanish and it would be an obvious choice every now and again. Nevertheless, the idiotic content of the network that targets adults with a fifth grade education and skews programming towards the largest majority (of the ever-growing and diverse Hispanic minority), prevents me and many others like me from becoming a "House Hold" (network lingo for viewer). I suppose they could care less about us anyway since they don't target our patronage ever.

So back to what caught my attention. Cuba. More significantly, Juanita Castro's interview with Saralegui while promoting her new book Fidel y Raul, mis hermanos: La Historia Secreta Memorias Contada a Maria Antonia Collins. Before I plunge into this combustible subject please allow me to give you a bit of background.

Fidel Castro's sister, Juanita Castro, fled Cuba in 1964 after openly disagreeing with her brothers (Fidel and Raul's) politics, primarily because of their unexpected agrarian reform policies that went dead head against their original revolutionary mission, a mission that Juanita was very much a part of when in the mid-fifties she traveled the United States to raise funds for Fidel and his Revolucion.

One of seven children born in the Holguin Province of Cuba, Juanita is fourth in line and one of four girls. The Castros also share a half brother and sister born during their father's first marriage. Now, you would think that in a family that nurtures politicos much like the Kennedys, political sparring would be a welcome activity, even an occasional one. Well, not quite so in this family.

As her discontent with La Revolucion grew, so did her anti-revolucionario activities. Early in the formation of the new system she aligned herself with the U.S. and joined the CIA, working assiduously to bring her brother's regime to its knees. Defiant, strong-willed, and disenchanted, she realized it was a lost cause and fled to the United States. She was one of the lucky ones who, unlike most others opposed to Castro's policies, left with her head intact both metaphorically and literally.

Hardly a paragon of fiscal and moral rectitude -- just count the number of Cuban exiles who flee in rafts in the middle of the night risking their lives and sacrificing their families -- Cuba continues, after fifty years in the cat bird seat, to saber-rattle all those who oppose its system of government. And it is in this spirit that Juanita writes her supreme grievance against her brothers. A grievance she says is ethical not political in nature, which has led to the greatest injustice her brothers have so far committed against their parents Angel Castro y Argiz and Lina Ruz Gonzalez and family, and one that will forever undermine their honor and memory.