Without Fidel on Amazon
The Daily Beast has published another excerpt from Ann Louise Bardach's new book, Without Fidel. Here it is, a look at Fidel Castro's personal life:
Gossip is the national pastime of Cuba, followed by baseball and sex (although the order could well be reversed). However, speaking out of turn about Castro’s personal life guarantees banishment. “He was always very private and reserved about his personal life,” his sister Juanita told me in 2002. "The personali[ties] of Fidel and my father are very similar.” Castro’s private life is so forbidden that it was not until 2003 that state-run television offered its first glimpse of Dalia Soto del Valle, Castro’s spouse and the mother of five of his sons—just after Talk magazine mentioned her decades of being off-camera. An unparalleled master of media and public relations, Castro reads every news item about him and his country and responds accordingly.
When Fidelito mishandled Cuba’s nuclear-power program, Castro had him fired. “There was no resignation,” Castro declared. “He was fired for incompetence. We don’t have a monarchy here.”
I learned firsthand the degree of Castro’s sensitivity when I got the boot at Jose Marti Airport in Havana last year when I arrived for a visit. A senior official explained the reason a few months later. “Fidel no le gusto su libro,” he told a mutual friend. “Fidel did not like her book,” he said, referring to Cuba Confidential. Curiously, Castro was disturbed not so much about its political content, he said, but rather by some revelations in a chapter entitled Castro Family Values. “Porque unas cosas personales,” the official said. “Because of the personal things.” What is standard-issue public information for any other Western leader, is decidely off-limits in Cuba.