Fidel Castro's older brother is Ramon, who for decades has worked in the countryside, content to be out of the national spotlight.
In less than three weeks, on Oct. 14, 1924, Ramon will celebrate his 84th birthday. He is older than Fidel, whose official birth date is Aug. 13, 1926 (although some biographers are convinced Fidel was actually born in 1927 and claimed to be a year older to get in to Belen prep school when he was a teen-ager).
Sarasota Herald-Tribune staff writer Michael Braga profiled the oldest Castro brother in 2004.
From the story:
With his white beard shaved at the chin, dressed in an old cowboy hat gray from cigar smoke, a short-sleeve check shirt, black slacks and black shoes, Ramon Castro resembles an Amish farmer.Not long after that story came out, Naples businessman John Parke Wright IV was kind enough to invite me to lunch with Ramon and a few others. Ramon was celebrating his 80th birthday. Wright played the harmonica. Ramon sang, told stories and snuffed out the candle on his cake with a clap of his hands.
"I'm just a guajiro," he says, a word that translates roughly into "hillbilly."
Ramon's good-natured humility and aura of spirituality cause people to gravitate toward him. Those who recognize him realize he's a national treasure, someone who has fought for the principles of the Cuban Revolution without getting his hands dirty.
"He's very clean," said his sister, Juanita Castro, who lives and works in Miami and has been a persistent critic of her more famous brother, Fidel. "Ramon is a wonderful man."