Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cuba magazine slams "bad taste" Castro sister book

HAVANA (Reuters) - An official Cuban publication on Monday dismissed as "a bad
taste commercial operation" a memoir by the younger sister of Fidel and Raul
Castro that revealed she worked for the CIA in Cuba in the early 1960s.

The article in the official Cuban magazine La Jiribilla said the memoir
published last month by Juanita Castro, who has lived in exile in Miami since
fleeing communist-ruled Cuba in 1964, was a product of "the anti-Castro industry
in Miami."

"No one should expect transcendental revelations nor a political event. It's
simply a commercial operation of bad taste and low moral stature," La Jiribilla
said in the article by Jorge Gomez that was posted on its web site, but later

It was the first official reaction in Cuba's state media to the publication of
Juanita Castro's book, that added a previously unknown twist to the saga of the
Castro family that has been closely entwined with Cuba's history since Fidel
Castro's 1959 revolution grabbed the attention of the world.

In her memoir, "Fidel and Raul, My Brothers, the Secret History," Juanita
Castro, a staunch critic of her brothers' communist rule, told how she was
recruited by the CIA in 1961 to help its agents and other opponents of Castro
escape capture by his police and escape from the island.

"If this is true ... she would just be one more person out of thousands of
Cubans who, for gifts, money or out of other motives, which could include
hatred, desire for revenge or intolerance, have worked for the CIA," the
Jiribilla article said.

Fidel Castro, now 83, last year ceded the Cuban presidency to his brother Raul
Castro, 78, on health grounds. He has accused the CIA of being behind most of
the more than 600 plots he says were hatched to assassinate or topple him during
nearly half a century of enmity between Washington and Havana.

The article that appeared on the Jiribilla web site said, "The truth is clear:
Fidel Castro is the victim, the one offended, the individual who was conspired
against and who has maintained a silence that honors and elevates him."

Juanita Castro, who accuses Fidel Castro of "betraying" what she said were the
original democratic nationalist credentials of the 1959 revolution, said she
received no salary from the CIA while working for the agency.

She also said her work for the CIA was "humanitarian" and that she had refused
to participate in any attempts to harm her brothers or other Cuban leaders.

After leaving Cuba, she broke publicly with Fidel Castro's government and says
she has not spoken to either him or Raul Castro since.

(Reporting by Rosa Tania Valdes; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Peter Cooney)

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