October 22, 2014

Person of Interest

Cuba’s ailing communist dictator Fidel Castro officially resigned his presidency on Feb. 19, 2008, after nearly 50 years in power. Many Cubans—including part-time Naples resident Nydia Tranter—are watching closely to see what post-Fidel politics will mean for their homeland.

Hometown: Tranter owns homes in Cincinnati and Grey Oaks in Naples.

High society: Twice a widow, Tranter married her first husband, economist Emilio Fernandez Camus, when she was 18. Her father-in-law was an official in Gen. Fulgencio Batista’s Cuban government prior to the revolution.

Unhappy New Year: Fidel Castro’s revolution abruptly ended a 1958 New Year’s Eve party at her new family’s home. "They called my father-in-law and told him Batista had flown away. We went directly to the Chilean embassy for asylum. We stayed there three months."

Cramped quarters: Eighty people shared one bathroom, and most slept on the floor until they were able to travel to South America and the United States.

Political predictions: "I don’t think [Castro’s] brother is going to change a bit, but he’s going to fake it."

No going back:
"I promised myself and my father that I would never go to Cuba until there was respect for human rights and freedom of expression. I wish it would be true. I think it’s all propaganda."

Community involvement: She is a founder and docent of Cincinnati’s art museum and a board member of its opera guild. In Naples, she is a member of the Council of World Affairs and of Grey Oaks’ book club.

Sharing her blessings: She volunteered in Cuban slums as a teenager. Eight years ago, she taught English and worked in a hospital at an Indian village in the mountains of Peru. "I just wanted to do something before I’m too old."

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