Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Author and protagonist of "Fighting Castro: A Love Story" visit USF CASA

The University of South Florida's Cuban American Student Association (CASA) — a Raíces de Esperanza Affiliate Organization — hosted author Kay Abella, author of "Fighting Castro: A Love Story" and the book's real-life protagonist Lino Fernández.

A couple of anecdotes from USF CASA President Frank Hernández:
The event truly was an amazing experience. I can go on and on about all the amazing things that occurred over a two-day period, but I will just share two stories.

One was an email I received before the event. A gentlemen who lives in Tampa sent me a short synopsis of his experience in jail (in Cuba) with Lino Fernández. What stood out was his grateful nature in thanking USF CASA for bringing Lino to Tampa. He said that he was going to take the opportunity to see Lino again after so many years to thank him personally for helping him survive jail. In his own words: "If it wasn't for Lino, I wouldn't be alive today".

The second story: A family member of one of our panelists thanked us for having the event, so that his story could be shared and, most importantly, so that these great men (ex-political prisoners) could be acknowledged for the sacrifice they made for their country. The family member of the ex-political prisoner told me that our event was the first time in 40 years that her father was recognized publicly for his heroism and courage.
USF CASA members take a moment out for a photo with panelists. Kay Abella (back row, center) spoke about her book, "Fighting Castro: A Love Story," which was inspired by real-life protagonist and Cuban political prisoner Lino Fernández (standing to Abella's left). Other former political prisoners on the panel were (from left): Felipe Villamil (22 years), José M. Rodríguez (17 years), Robert Pizano (18 years), and Fr. Miguel A. Loredo (10 years).

For information on how to get involved at USF CASA or other Raíces Student Network Affiliate Organizations, send an e-mail to SN@raicesdeesperanza.org

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