Castro's daughter says Cuban ecomony 'nonexistent'
By Steve McConnell (Staff Writer)
Published: September 21, 2010
DUNMORE – Engineers and doctors paid $10 a month. Government-run barber
and shoe shops. Widespread poverty and unemployment. Communism has left
the Cuban economy in shambles, about the same half a century ago as it
is today, the daughter of former Cuban President Fidel Castro told a
large crowd at Penn State Worthington Scranton campus in Dunmore Monday
"The Cuban economy is nonexistent," said Alina Fernandez, who was a
toddler when her father and a band of fellow revolutionaries overthrew
the government in 1959. Fernandez was invited to speak at the
university, followed by a question-and-answer session with the public.
Despite recent headlines about the Cuban government laying off at least
500,000 state workers this year and encouraging some of them to take
private-sector jobs, Fernandez said it is going to take a new generation
of leaders to instill free-market values and a capitalistic economy.
"It's not the first time it happened," she said of the layoffs and talk
of free-market reforms coming to the island nation of 11 million
citizens who still receive food-rationing cards from the government.
"Cuba is a society obligated to live on a black market basis. Almost
nothing has changed."
Yet she marveled at how her father, who purportedly turned over the
reins of the government to his brother and her uncle, Raul, in 2006, was
able to captivate millions of Cubans to believe in his vision during and
many years after the revolution, mostly through hours-long televised
"I came from a country in which the revolution is endless," she said.
"How did he accomplish so many things? That's still the mystery."
And why a man dressed in a military uniform, smoking a cigar, showed up
from time to time at her mother's house was also a mystery until it was
revealed to her when she was 10 years old that Castro was her father. He
did not marry her mother and also fathered several other children.