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Saturday, January 24, 1998 Published at 17:40 GMT



World: Monitoring

Castro's daughter rubbishes the revolution

The illegitimate daughter of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Alina Fernandez, has poured scorn on her father's concept of revolution and criticized his handling of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Cuba.

In an interview with France Info radio broadcast on Friday, Fernandez - whose book `My Father Fidel' is scheduled to be published next month - described Castro's address on the subject of the Pope's visit as "rather pathetic and very aggressive" .

She described his urging the Cuban people to attend church during the Pope's visit as "a kind of game, a psychological one" , adding that Castro's Jesuit education had made him aware of the power of the Church.

Asked whether having Castro as a father had cast a shadow over her entire life, Fernandez replied that the shadow was one felt by all Cubans, not only by those related to him.

"It was rather the shadow of the leader of the regime, as with all other Cubans.

I think it is in that regard that Fidel' s omnipresence is more striking, rather than from the family angle," she said.

Asked what would happen when Castro was no longer able to rule Cuba, Fernandez said she was worried about the possibility of civil unrest.

"There may be great and terrible disorder.

It is because of this that we are pinning a little hope on the Church.

It is the only institution that might help a more or less civilized transition," she said.

However, she said it was still time Castro thought of stepping down.

"After 40 years and the ruination of a country, there are plenty of reasons for thinking of stepping down, or at least to start doing something to prepare the future of the country," she said.

Asked what she thought of Castro's slogan, "revolution or death!" , Fernandez said that it was "ridiculous" .

"He's the only one who wants that.

Nobody wants to die for an absurd idea these days.

No revolution lasts 40 years," she said, adding "It's altogether ridiculous, but there you are" .

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.






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