Alina Fernandez, Fidel Castro's daughter, talks about her opposition to her father
April 30, 2003
Court TV Host: Alina Fernandez, Fidel Castro's daughter, fled her homeland in 1993 and has become one of her father's staunchest critics. Now, she's leading the call for renewed sanctions against Castro because of his recent crackdowns on dissidents. She was just on the Catherine Crier Live program, and she's going to be here any moment.
Court TV Host: Our guest, Alina Fernandez, is here with us now. Thank you for joining us today.
Alina Fernandez: You're very welcome, really.
Court TV Host: Anything you'd like to say that you didn't get a chance to say on air?
Alina Fernandez: Actually, while I was trying to say that some congressman wants to open up for American tourists to go down to Cuba, just at this moment it's time to bring forth the laws against trade with Cuba.
Question from Sally: Why the crackdown now? Any thoughts that it might be related to the fact we just liberated Iraq?
Alina Fernandez: Castro and Hussein have been cooperating since the late 70's, but the wave of oppression seems to be more according to the economic crisis they're expecting in the country. They already have huge political crisis.
Question from which: If the sanctions were implemented, why do you think any new sanctions would cause a response when no others have? As we saw with Iraq the sanctions just punished those poor people more.
Alina Fernandez: Because actually the sanctions in Cuba have never been applied like they were in Iraq. Three months ago, three hundred American companies held a trade fair in Havana. That never happened in Iraq. A lot of American companies are trading with Cuba through Canada, Mexico, etc.
Question from Chad: Why has the Castro regime lasted for as long as it has without Russia's backing? Thank you.
Alina Fernandez: Because of the economic sanctions have never been applied. Just because of that.
Question from BamaGirl: When you smiled while saying that Castro was getting old -- were you smiling because you're happy he's close to death? I was confused.
Alina Fernandez: No, no. I didn't smile because of that. I don't know about his health or condition, but of course I wasn't smiling because I don't know anything about his health.
Question from Myrna: Do you have a list of those companies??
Alina Fernandez: Right now, not on me. Some of them were penalized last week. They had to pay penalties - you can find them on the internet.
Question from Bridget: Alina, are you nervous that your father might send someone to harm you for speaking out against him?
Alina Fernandez: Actually, you learn how to live without fear. To go with the risk.
Question from which: In the 60's it was thought that your father had something to do with the assassination of then-president John F. Kennedy. First, do you believe there is any credence to that accusation, and, second, if he did, how would you suggest we prove it?
Alina Fernandez: I don't know anything about that.
Question from Chad: Does he fear United States takeover? Thank you.
Alina Fernandez: I don't think so. It hasn't happened in 45 years.
Question from treebabi: Are you hoping one day to return to your homeland? In what capacity?
Alina Fernandez: In any capacity I'll feel useful, to help the civil society to be rebuilt.
Question from Gail: Does she ever talk to her Dad?
Question from treebabi: Do you talk to your father at all?
Question from BamaGirl: Alina, do you communicate with your father at all these days?
Alina Fernandez: Not for the last 20 years.
Question from Sally: Why exactly is Cuba having an economic crisis now? I never thought of it as a rich country, but neither did I see it as poor.
Alina Fernandez: Because of the crisis in Venezuela the oil is not going there. Because after more than 10 years of the failing of the Soviet Union, all the resources are exhausted.
Question from Gail: What about your mother, where is she?
Alina Fernandez: She is in Cuba.
Question from ladyblu: alina Do you have brothers or sisters, do they feel the same as you do ?
Alina Fernandez: I'm not in touch with them, because if you think differently than Castro you cannot be in touch with people down in Cuba because it can endanger them.
Question from polka: Why do you feel that sanctions are the way to deal with Castro, when it has been repeatedly shown that if not for the vast sums of US currency that flow into Cuba every month, the average Cuban would be even worse off than under the fascist regime of Castro? Continuing the economic embargo makes no sense to me in light of the fact that they hurt the people of Cuba.
Alina Fernandez: No. The embargo has never been applied to Cuba. 300 American companies held a trade fair. The United States has been trading to Cuba through Canada, Mexico, etc.
Question from Bridget: Alina, If Fidel were ever to be assassinated or removed from power, do you think his brother would just assume power and keep the same standards of repression?
Question from cheryl: Who will lead if Castro dies...his brother?
Question from Chad: Who will succeed your father when he passes away?
Alina Fernandez: Thank you. Raoul will not keep the same system. He's not fit for that, and I don't think he's willing to do that. The succession will be the choice of the Cuban people inside the island.
Question from kapsy: Alina - how did you get to the US?
Alina Fernandez: I escaped in 1993 with a falsified Spanish passport.
Question from joeturner: Where do you live?
Alina Fernandez: I live all around, but I'm based in Miami now for the last year.
Question from dreamcatcher: Do you have an extended family here? Anyone you feel close to?
Alina Fernandez: My daughter.
Question from which: How can you be so sure your uncle will not keep the same hold on Cuba?
Alina Fernandez: Because he's absolutely different from his brother. He never had the same power, same brain, or same ambition.
Question from which: Alina If your father were to call you would you carry on a conversation with him of a family type or a political one?
Alina Fernandez: I don't think he would call me. I don't think about it.
Question from cheryl: What can we do locally?
Alina Fernandez: Locally, write to the lawmakers. To congress, the senate, to white house, to the president -- that you support Cuban freedom.
Question from Gail: Do you keep in touch with your mother?
Alina Fernandez: Yes.
Question from winter: Would you like for Cuba to have the same kind of democracy that we have here in the US?
Alina Fernandez: At least similar. We'll find our own way.
Question from Bridget: Is you mother safe in Cuba?
Alina Fernandez: Nobody's safe in Cuba.
Question from dreamcatcher: What have you told your daughter about all this ?
Alina Fernandez: She's 25 years old. She makes up her own mind. She lived there until she was 16.
Court TV Host: Any closing thoughts? The only thing I would like is for people to find out more about the real Cuban situation. They have been misled by the media.
Court TV Host: Thank you very much for being our guest today.