Miami Book Fair: Ann Louise Bardach on Fidel Castro's Death

Back in the 1990s, Ann Louise Bardach -- who speaks Sunday at 11 a.m. with Gerald Posner at the Miami bookfair, made herself infamous in Miami by scoring a huge interview with Fidel Castro for Vanity Fair. Later, she nailed American hypocrisy toward terrorists when talking with Magic City mad bomber, Luis Posada Carriles -- who masterminded the shoot down of a Cubana airliner. That work was published in the New York Times.

In her new book, Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington, Bardach tells more about the Castro's present maladies (she calls him the "convalescent-in-chief" ) and his complicated family tree than has ever been divulged before. He has had several operations that he never should have survived, she posits.

And he has a "tribe" of kids, he told Bardach. Some, like Francisca Pupo, have moved to Miami and live in anonymity, she says. Others of course have made big names for themselves on the island -- Fidelito for instance.

Of course there's also a bit of Kremlinology -- (Cubaology?) in the book as well, considering Raul's leadership and who will follow him.

Bardach predicts Fidel's death will be kept a secret "like Franco's, because Fidel is really more of a Spaniard. They'll have all their ducks in a row." His ashes will be spread over a mountain top and "there won't be a monument for anyone to deface" she says, then adds: "There are no small Cuban stories. Drama is the key to all."

Overall, it's an important and timely book -- really a "reporter's book," she says. Proof that it's honest? "I can kiss my visa good-bye," she explains.

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse