What would you do if your blood was that of one of history’s most ruthless communist leaders? How would you feel if, on the day your father died, entire towns erupted in celebration? Alina Fernández Revuelta, daughter of Fidel Castro, joined the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center in collaboration with the Latinx Students Association and the Diversity Action Committee and Multicultural Studies Minor on October 4th to give students and staff an intimate look into her life.
At 9 pm, roughly 120 students filed into the Maloney Great Room in the Sarazen Student Union to witness the talk which was part of Latinx Heritage Month celebrations. The talk was equal parts uplifting, heartbreaking, and comedic. Fernandez had the crowd laughing at many times throughout her story. The Cuba native began by saying, “I come from a country in which the revolution is endless.” Castro was responsible for much of the formation of the revolution in Cuba which makes Fernandez’s bloodline a difficult one to carry. For much of her early life, Fernandez did not know who her father was. She only knew of a man whom she called the “night visitor.” Her mother loved him dearly; her grandmother was convinced the devil lived inside of him. Much of the lecture was not centered around Castro himself but instead the effects of his reign on her life.
To many students, Fernandez’s story may be insignificant. So what? She was his daughter and she disagrees with him. What does this have to do with me? Fernandez related her story to these students. She wants everyone to speak up for what they believe in. Although she comes from a country where her opinion would be written off simply because she disagrees, she found a new way to have her voice heard. Her goal of these talks, she stated, is, “a new society in which, I hope, freedom will prevail for my country.”
Fernandez is a firm critic of the Cuban regime. She offered many anti-communist sentiments throughout the evening. In her country, she told students, “If you think differently, you become the enemy.” This is why she began speaking out at colleges across the United States and the world. When asked if she was ever met with prejudice in being Fidel Castro’s daughter, she replied with a simple, “yes.” When that was not enough for the crowd, she explained that this prejudice is the whole reason she is doing what she does. People assume she is a believer in her father’s ideals which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fernandez left students with this bit of wisdom: “The enemy is not yourself.” By this she means, there are some things that make you and are simply out of your control. No matter how bad the situation seems, you are never battling yourself.