Q24N (Miami) While many leaders around the world begin their preparations to visit Cuba, to pay their respected to Fidel Castro, one person will not be there: Juanita Castro, Fidel’s sister who has been in exile in Miami for 51 years.
In 1964, Juanita accused her brother of turning Cuba into “an enormous prison surrounded by water’.
Despite expressing sorrow over the death of her brother, she said on Saturday she wouldn’t be returning to Cuba in her lifetime. She also put rumors to rest that she would be heading to Cuba for the memorial and said she will remain in the United States, the Miami Herald reported.
She said she remained committed to the Cuban exile community and opposed to the dictatorship her late brother imposed on the island when he seized power in 1959.
Exiled in Miami since 1964, Juanita, 83, said in a statement that she was upset by the news early Saturday. At the same time, she hoped that his death at age 90 is a turning point in which all Cubans find common ground.
‘In light of the bad rumors that said I was going to go to Cuba for the funeral, I want to clarify that I have never returned to the island, nor do I have plans to do so.
‘I have fought alongside exiles, arm and arm, during their most active and intense stages of struggle in past decades, and I respect the feelings of all,’ Juanita said in a statement.
‘I do not rejoice over the death of any human being, much less when that person is someone with my blood and surnames.
‘As a sister of Fidel, I am experiencing the loss of a human being who shared my blood, as happened with the deaths of my siblings Ramón and Angelita,’ Juanita said in a statement.
Ramón Castro Ruz died on Feb. 23 at age 91. Angela Castro Ruz died in 2012 at 88.
Juanita is one of four of Castro’s sisters and was supportive in the late 1950s of her brother’s effort to overthrow Fulgencio Batista.
“I’ve been in exile in Miami for 51 years, like all the Cubans who left to find a space to fight for the freedom of their country,” Juanita Castro said. “I have never changed my position even though I had to pay a high price for the pain and isolation.”
“For decades, I confronted the system in Cuba and also those in exile who unfairly did not forgive that my surnames were Castro Ruz and who attacked me ruthlessly,” she said.
She asked for understanding for her pain and expressed hope that her brother’s death brings about an understanding among all Cubans.