Juanita Castro
Juana de la Caridad Castro Ruz (born May 6, 1933) is a sister of former Cuban President Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 and current President Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

. After working as a CIA agent in Cuba, she has been living in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 since 1964.

Early life

Juanita was born in Birán, near Mayarí, in what is now known as Holguín Province
Holguín Province
Holguín is one of the provinces of Cuba, the third most populous after Ciudad de la Habana and Santiago de Cuba. It lies in the northeast of the country. Its major cities include Holguín , Banes, Antilla, Mayarí, and Moa....

. She is the fourth child of Ángel Castro y Argiz
Ángel Castro y Argiz
Ángel María Bautista Castro y Argiz was the father of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raúl Castro....

 and Lina Ruz González, and has three brothers — Ramón, Fidel, and Raúl — and three sisters — Angelita, Enma, and Agustina. The family also has two half siblings, Lidia and Pedro Emilio, who were raised by Ángel Castro's first wife Maria Luisa Argota. Ángel Castro also had at least one other son, named Martin, born in 1930, the son of a farmhand named Generosa Mendoza, according to Bardach's 'Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington. Martin, 80, continues to live on the family property in Birán.

In the Revolution

Juanita, like all the Castro siblings, was active in the Cuban revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

, buying weapons for the 26th of July movement
26th of July Movement
The 26th of July Movement was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government in Cuba...

 during their campaign against Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

. In 1958 Juanita traveled to the U.S. to raise funds. After the revolution Juanita felt betrayed by the growing influence of Cuban communists
Communist Party of Cuba
The Communist Party of Cuba is the governing political party in Cuba. It is a communist party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The Cuban constitution ascribes the role of the Party to be the "leading force of society and of the state"...

 over the Cuban government.

Fidel and Raúl's government policies clashed with family interests, which included their brother Ramón. When the two revolutionaries insisted on imposing "agrarian reform" on some of the family estates, Ramón, who had worked hard maintaining the property, angrily exploded, "Raúl is a dirty little Communist. Some day I am going to kill him."


In this climate, Juanita started collaborating with the CIA. In 1964 she left Cuba, staying with her sister Enma, who had left Cuba earlier when she married a Mexican in Cuba before emigrating to the United States. Upon her arrival in Mexico she called a press conference and announced that she had defected from Cuba. "I cannot longer remain indifferent to what is happening in my country," she said. "My brothers Fidel and Raúl have made it an enormous prison surrounded by water. The people are nailed to a cross of torment imposed by international Communism."

Juanita Castro in the immediate post-revolutionary period was credited with helping at least 200 people leave Cuba, as part of her work with CIA. According to a 1964 article in Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine "after the mother Lina Ruz died, there was a violent episode when Fidel decided to expropriate the family land once and for all. Juanita started selling the cattle; Fidel flew into a rage, denounced her as a 'counterrevolutionary worm,' and rushed to the Oriente farm."

In 1998, Juanita filed a lawsuit in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 against her niece Alina Fernández
Alina Fernández
Alina Fernández Revuelta is the daughter of Fidel Castro and an outspoken critic of the Cuban communist regime. She lived under her father’s rule from when he took power in 1959 until she fled the country in 1993 with her daughter because of dissenting political views.As an illegitimate daughter...

, her brother Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

's illegitimate daughter, for libel over some passages in Fernández's autobiography, Castro's Daughter: An Exile's Memoir of Cuba, that was published the same year. The Spanish court ordered Fernández and Plaza & Janes, the Barcelona Random House division that published the book, to pay $45,000 to Juanita. Juanita claimed the book defamed her family stating: "People who were eating off Fidel's plate yesterday come here and want money and power, so they say whatever they want, even if it's not true."

On October 25, 2009, Juanita Castro told Univision
Univision is a Spanish-language television network in the United States. It has the largest audience of Spanish language television viewers according to Nielsen ratings. Randy Falco, COO, has been in charge of the company since the departure of Univision Communications president and CEO Joe Uva...

's WLTV-23 she initially supported her brother's 1959 overthrow of the Batista dictatorship but quickly became disillusioned. Her home became a sanctuary for anti-Communists before she fled the island in 1964. In the TV interview, Juanita Castro says she was approached by the CIA.

Later life

After leaving Cuba, Juanita settled in Miami in 1964 and opened a pharmacy called Mini Price in 1973. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1984. In December 2006 she sold her pharmacy business to CVS after being open for 35 years. The building and the property were later sold to Shell Lumber

External links

(has link to 6 min 42 sec audio)
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