In Havana, Cuba, it was no secret: Fidel Castro and their sister Juanita had issues. What nobody even suspected was that they were big enough to make the seven-years-younger sibling of the Cuban leader work undercover for the CIA, against her brothers Fidel and Raul and the Cuban Revolution. Now, from exile in Miami, Juanita Castro tells Metro about her memories, recently published under the title Fidel y Raúl, mis hermanos: La historia secreta (Fidel and Raul, My Brothers: The Secret Story).
Q: You are one of the biggest critics of the Cuban regime. What do you say to those who still defend the Cuban model?
A: That this is a wake-up call. They should not be confused by the strong publicity used by countries. Here, I am telling the truth as events occurred. This book is not an invitation for confrontation; it’s meant to convey peace and forgiveness.
Q: You say the Cuban regime has failed, however different organizations, including WHO, recognizes the great health care system and the fact there is no illiteracy in Cuba.
A: We cannot deny that there are no illiterate people. But concerning health care, they don’t have enough resources. From here in Miami, Cubans send drugs to their relatives that they cannot find there.
Q: What exactly did you do for the CIA?
A: Basically it was about humanitarian help, through giving a hand to those who needed help or had to escape the country. I hid a lot of them in my own house. I recognize it was very helpful to be the sister of the principal leader of the Revolution.
Q: What differences do you find between the Obama and Bush administrations?
A: They are as different as day and night. We are seeing some changes. I believe Obama has good intentions. But it’s necessary that the other side (Cuba) takes a step to the transition. Democracy in the Cuban government is necessary.
Q: We’ve seen some slight changes in the Cuban side too, since Raul became the president. Are you disappointed?
A: My idea, my wish is that Cuba has freedom, that has a better faith, and that can be made only by the president if he really loves his country and his people.
Q: Was Fidel’s cold attitude to your mother’s death what finished your relationship with him?
A: Yes, I saw him for the last time the day after she died.
Q: What does Mexico represent in your life?
A: Mexico was the nation where I could get asylum to denounce the Marxist program of Cuba. It was the birthplace of the Revolution of Cuba. It was Mexican people who gave us their help, their houses. And it has been the home for my sister Enma, whom I’ve been in touch with since then.