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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