Rodríguez, Ana (1938—)
Rodríguez, Ana (1938—)
Anti-Castro Cuban political activist and author. Name variations: Ana Rodriguez. Born in Cuba on April 17, 1938; daughter of Filiberto Rodríguez and Juana Hernandez Rodríguez; attended University of Havana and the Cetec University.
Confined in Cuba as a political prisoner (1961–79); emigrated to United States (1980); wrote Diary of a Survivor, inspired by her 19-year prison term, to bring attention to the human-rights abuses occurring in Cuban women's prisons (1995).
Ana Rodríguez was born in 1938 and grew up in a middle-class family near Havana, Cuba, during the reign of dictator Fulgencio Batista. While attending high school and the University of Havana, she was involved in the anti-Batista movement and was initially a supporter of revolutionary Fidel Castro, despite reservations about his Communist connections. Following Castro's 1959 takeover of the Cuban government, Rodríguez's disillusionment with Communist rule led to her participation in the pro-democratic Cuban underground. Her activities included distributing anti-Castro propaganda and assisting in smuggling Cuban government documents to the American embassy.
Arrested in 1961 and convicted of engaging in anti-revolutionary activities, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison, to be followed by
30 years of house arrest. Her moving story of life as a political prisoner in Cuba is recounted in her autobiography, Diary of a Survivor: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women's Prison. The account chronicles the prolonged physical and mental abuse which was inflicted upon Rodríguez and her fellow political prisoners. Throughout the ordeal, Rodríguez maintained her dignity and self-respect while refusing to submit to political "re-education" programs.
Rodríguez was released from prison in 1979 as a result of negotiations between the Cuban and U.S. governments. Shortly thereafter, she and her family were granted exit visas and emigrated to Miami, where Rodríguez resumed medical studies she had begun 20 years earlier in Cuba.
Rodríguez, Ana, and Glenn Garvin. Diary of a Survivor: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women's Prison. NY: St. Martin's, 1995.
Linda S. Walton , freelance writer, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan