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Indiana Memorial Union Board

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University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fidel Castro's daughter to share personal story in public forum at IU Bloomington

Nov. 4, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Alina Fernandez, the outspoken daughter of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, will speak at Indiana University Bloomington Nov. 18, 7 p.m., in the Indiana Memorial Union's Whittenberger Auditorium.

Her free, open-to-the-public talk is part of IU's International Week and is presented by the Indiana Memorial Union Board and co-sponsored by La Casa.

Alina Fernandez

Alina Fernandez

Print-Quality Photo

Fernandez, now a TV and radio host (for WQBA, a Cuban-exile station) residing in Miami, will share an intimate account of growing up in Cuba and offer personal insights into Cuban politics and culture.

Castro overthrew the Batista government in the 1959 Cuban Revolution and maintained power for 49 years, resigning in February 2008 at the age of 82. He was succeeded by younger brother Raul Castro, 78.

Fernandez was a toddler when Castro first overthrew the Batista government. As she grew up and became more aware of Cuba's political climate, she became rebellious, joining the island's political dissident movement in the 1980s. By 1993, the former model was forced to flee Cuba to the United States disguised as a Spanish tourist, going from Spain to Miami.

Her 1998 book, Castro's Daughter: An Exile's Memoir of Cuba, describes her upbringing -- a combination of privilege and oppression -- as the illegitimate daughter of her country's most feared man. (Castro had eight children with three different women.) When neighbors who knew of her connection to Castro lined up at her door asking for food, Fernandez describes the feelings of hopelessness that overcame her. Now a human rights activist, Fernandez is traveling the country telling her stories to raise consciousness about the situation in Cuba.

"Alina will be able to provide students with a personal account that will really make the story of Cuba's political history come to life," said Caitlin Van Kooten, Union Board's lectures director. "The talk will broaden students' international perspectives."

About Union Board
The Indiana Memorial Union Board functions as IU's largest student programming organization and also serves as the IMU's governing body. Founded in 1909 by John Whittenberger, Union Board is currently celebrating its centennial year -- a year marked by reverence for tradition and commitment for innovation. For more information on Union Board, call 812-855-4682 or e-mail