After standing up against the Communist regime of her brothers Fidel and Raúl, Cuban opposition leader in exile Juanita Castro died Monday at a Miami of natural causes at the age of 90, her biographer María Antonieta Collins confirmed.
Today Juanita Castro, an exceptional woman, a tireless fighter for the cause of her Cuba that she loved so much, went ahead of us on the road of life and death, Collins wrote on Instagram.
Juanita was born on May 6, 1933. She studied business at the Las Ursulinas nuns' school in Havana and returned to her hometown in Biran, present-day Holguin province, where she opened the Juanita Cinema. She supported the Revolution against Fulgencio Batista, but soon parted with Fidel over the political persecution of opposing the communist regime.
Juanita Castro left for Mexico in 1964 and later went into exile in the United States, where she became a citizen in 1984. In southern Florida, she developed a life as a businesswoman and for years was an activist against the Castro regime. She even collaborated with the CIA under the alias Donna and made plans to overthrow her brother. Her contacts with the CIA began in June 1961, during a trip to Mexico to visit her sister Emma. She then acquired an apartment in Havana where she hid politically persecuted people and also helped nuns who were expelled from the island. After joining the opposition group Cuban Catholic Action in 1964, Raul Castro showed her a file containing all her conspiratorial activities and she decided to take refuge in Mexico.
Undoubtedly, I have suffered more than the rest of the exile because on neither side of the Florida straits do they give me respite and few are those who understand the paradox of my life, she said in her memoirs. For those in Cuba, I am a deserter because I left and denounced the regime in place. For many in Miami, I am persona 'non grata' because I am the sister of Fidel and Raul for which she was attacked mercilessly.
Her sister Emma and her extended family ask for privacy in this painful moment. There will be no interviews and according to her will, her funeral will be private, Collins also said on social media.
When Fidel died in 2016, Juanita told Univision that the two of them had been separated for political reasons for many years but that feelings and family ties had been maintained with much pain on her part.
Ángel Castro Argiz and Lina Ruz had seven children: Angelita (1923), Ramón (1924), Fidel (1926), Raúl (1931), Juanita (1933), Emma (1935), and Agustina (1938).