- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 December 2015
- Written by JANAYA LEWINSKI | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Fidel Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernandez, spoke at the University for the second time about various issues regarding past and present forging policy perspectives on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Monmouth’s Student Activities Board (SAB), Students Advocating Girls Education (SAGE), and the Political Science Club, hosted the event.
Before the talk began, freshman business student, Camilla Gini had the chance to speak with Fernandez personally, and said she “picked up a down to earth vibe from someone who has been through so much. She approaches things with humor, and it was wonderful to see.”
The actual talk was about 45 minutes. Fernandez gave a descriptive interpretation of the country where she hails from, saying, “I come from a country where revolution is endless.” She explains how she was tied to her pacifier as a child.
She described Cuba’s situation further by explaining complexities of the economy, days of the revolution, and the way that things are changing now. Later, Castro’s daughter moved into comments that seemed to resonate with most in the room. She was unaware that she was Castro’s daughter, saying one day she found out, “Fidel was my dad.”
After speaking, there was an open forum for questions. Some questions regarded how Fernandez felt about current events in America and Cuba while some were personal about her life since she left Cuba. At one point, a student stood up and asked – “When was the last time you talked to your dad?- was it notable?” Her response was, “No. We just said hello and that’s it.”
A local high school with ties to Cuba through their Spanish teacher was able to visit the University to see Castro’s daughter. Each of their reactions were unique, but one Wall High School student thoughtfully explained her feelings.
“It is a very great thing to someone of that ilk talk about these topics. And we have a teacher from Cuba and she is just a wonderful woman and she feels so strongly about the Cuban people. She reached out to us and wanted us to talk and hear about all the wonderful things this woman had to say I can say that it was truly a pleasure.”
A Wall High School Teacher, Monmouth University adjunct, Miriam Arminio is of Cuban decent. One of her students discussed how she felt about seeing Fernandez, and she said, “I felt a connection with her because my parents and I fled the country she did as well. It was an honor to watch.”
Freshman business student Nicholas Bellomo also commented, “I think it is wonderful that she is here, I think it is great that she does this at colleges and universities, and again, I am just glad to see her here at Monmouth.”
After the speaking engagement and questions concluded, and the high school and lingering Monmouth students dissipated –in a candid moment with Ms. Fernandez, she talked about her home after being asked about diplomatic ties between Cuba and the U.S.
She said, “I have gone back to Cuba. It was because my mother passed. But, I would like to see the changes (in reference to modernizing Cuba) because there is in fact something magical about the place that you were born. It has a special energy for you.”
Expanding on an earlier sentiment about the last time she saw her father, she explained, “We met in an embassy, it was public. We said hello, that was really it.”
Fernandez has been to the University once before, and she spoke about how it felt coming back to the University, “It is always more exciting and more scary.”
She also spoke about how she feels about speaking publicly, “I shake and everything. It’s so bad.”
IMAGE TAKEN from www.havana-live.com