Cuban communist leader and dictator Fidel Castro, one of Latin America’s most prominent historical figures, is well known but what do you know about his anti-communist daughter? Alina Fernandez is a Cuban American human rights activist who lived in Cuba until she was 37 and was an avid opponent of communism and Castro. Her extraordinary story is finally making its way to the silver screen in an indie film biopic called Alina of Cuba: La Hija Rebelde, Deadline reported. Cuban and Salvadoran American actress Ana Villafañe has been cast as Alina, according to the publication. The 32-year-old is best known for her on-stage performances like the legendary Cuban singer Gloria Estefan in On Your Feet!, a biographical musical based on the iconic Cuban singer and her husband, Emilio Estefan.
“#patriayvida,” Villafañe captioned her Instagram post announcing the news. The phrase “Patria y Vida” or “Homeland and Life” is an anti-communist anthem that was created to oppose Cuba’s motto of “Patria o Muerte” which translates to “Homeland or Death.” Given Fernandez’s history, the sentiment was appropriate.
Fernandez, born March 19, 1956, is the child of Castro and Natalia Revuelta, a Cuban socialite, who was married to a physician but had an affair with the dictator. She didn’t know her biological father’s true identity until she was 10 and later learned her mother had been funding the Cuban revolution out of her own pocket and selling off her and her husband’s belongings. As a result of the revolution, Fernandez was forced to separate from her stepfather and sister, who fled to the U.S. while she stayed behind with her mother. She lived in Cuba until the early ’90s, defectinh to Spain before settling in Miami among a prominent Cuban community. Since finding out her real parentage, Fernandez has become a huge opposer of her father and his communist policies, and seeks to reveal the truth about the Cuban Revolution through her writing. Alina of Cuba is a powerful first step to sharing her story on the world stage.
Spanish filmmaker Miguel Bardem, cousin of Javier Bardem who recently played Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos, is set to direct. The script will be written by Jose Rivera, the first Puerto Rican screenwriter to receive an Oscar nomination. The writing team also includes Nilo Cruz, a Cuban American playwright who became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2003. Considering the recent uprising in Cuba and Castro’s notoriety, seeing the story of his daughter’s activism against communism will provide another perspective on the country’s politics that is still not often seen in Hollywood.
The film is set to shoot in Cartagena, Colombia in the summer, no news yet on the release date.