Alina, daughter of Fidel Castro to visit OU

Alina Fernandez, Fidel Castro’s daughter, will be sharing her personal memories of growing up in Cuba with Oakland University on Monday, Sept. 23.

“She’s a very powerful woman with a great story to tell,” said Jean Ann Miller, director of Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development at Oakland. “It’s so cool for OU to have a distinguished person like this come and speak on her life.”

Fernandez will be speaking in Varner Recital Hall at 7 p.m. Seating is first come first serve and there is no charge.

A “chance telephone phone call,” as Miller described it, led to Fernandez visit to OU.

Michelle Alwardt, senior communications major at OU, was the first person Miller called after receiving the phone call.

“Alina has an unparalleled perspective on life in Cuba and Cuban politics,” Alwardt said. “Because she was daring enough to escape to America she can tell her story in a way she would have never been able to from her home country.”

Originally Fernandez was scheduled to speak at Saginaw Valley. After Miller heard that news, she began looking into rates and invited Fernandez to speak at Oakland as well.

Funding for this event was provided by Student Congress and am partnering with the Women and Gender Studies Department, Political Science Department, Honors College, Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO), Spanish Club, and Hispanic Celebration month.

Oakland students that can’t attend Fernandez’s talk on campus can get the opportunity to hear her at Saginaw Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.


“Cuba is so mystical for Americans, in some respects, because we don’t really have a relationship with Communism,” Miller said.

Fernandez was toddler when Fidel Castro, a Communist leader of Cuba, began his domination.

In her childhood, it wasn’t unusual for Fernandez to watch Castro reign over Cuba on television. His tight grip over Cuba did not translate to his family life. He would disappear for months at a time. Throughout her childhood she experienced the realities of living in Communism and witnessed the changes during The Revolution.

At age 37, Fernandez fled from Cuba. With a wig on her head and a fake passport, she disguised herself as a Spanish woman and left Cuba.

She relocated to the United States and currently resides in Miami, Florida. In Florida, Fernandez has her own radio show called “Simplemente Alina” (Simply Alina) on WQBA in Miami.

“Castro’s Daughter: An Exile’s Memoir of Cuba,” was published in 1998 by St. Martin’s Press.

“I like most others had a very narrow view of Cuban life,” Alwardt said. “I knew who Fidel Castro was and the nature of the United States relationship with the island. However, I did not know much of her story. I am currently reading her memoir and am thrilled to have the opportunity to be enlightened by her talk.”