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Castro aide talks about former boss

March 23, 2006 at 11:18 PM

MIAMI, March 23 (UPI) -- One of Fidel Castro's former aides is living in Miami, where he has become a celebrity in the Cuban community, complete with regular appearances on TV.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Delfin Fernandez discussed some of Castro's habits. He said Castro has his used underwear burned rather than laundered, because he fears chemicals could be put in wash water to assassinate him.

He also said Castro has become compulsive about his health as he ages and loves Serrano hams imported from Spain.

Fernandez became a bodyguard and errand boy for the Cuban dictator and his brother Raul Castro in 1980, and eventually became disillusioned with the regime. He defected to Spain in 1999 while escorting Raul Castro's daughter to Europe.

"The initial idea of Fidel was good. Batista was an assassin," Fernandez said. "What happened was, the course he took with the revolution was wrong. It has dissolved into this unstoppable, insatiable corruption without limits, a vast lie. The people are in misery. Cuba's people have been enslaved as cheap labor for foreign businessmen."

Fernandez spent five years in Spain, where he was a bodyguard for celebrities including Antonio Banderas. He decided to move to Miami last year because he wanted to be part of a Cuban community.

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