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Ramon Castro, Elder Brother Of Cuban Leaders, Dies At 91


You know about Fidel Castro and his little brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro. Well, there was another Castro brother. We haven't heard much about him. He was neither a revolutionary nor a politician. He was a farmer.


Ramon Castro died yesterday at the age of 91. He was good friends with a Florida farmer named John Parke Wright.

JOHN PARKE WRIGHT: He was always complementary of his brothers. He was family man. However, I never heard him get into a discussion on politics.

CORNISH: Ramon Castro did help his two younger brothers found the Cuban Communist Party in the 1950s. Once they took power, he served in various government roles.

SIEGEL: But his heart was elsewhere, according to his friend, Wright.

WRIGHT: Well, he loved the farm. When he was a boy, he was the first of his three brothers to be allowed to drive the family John Deere tractor.

SIEGEL: Wright remembers having long talks over cigars with his friend.

WRIGHT: He had a good sense of humor. Ramon Castro was fun to be with.

CORNISH: That sense of humor was also apparent to NPR's own Lourdes Garcia-Navarro got the bar. Back in 2004, she went to a party for American business people in Havana. Looking back on it, she recalls one thing in particular.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: I walk into this lush, beautiful villa, and I am introduced to Ramon Castro. And it's kind of jarring because even though he was Fidel's older brother, he looks a lot like him. As he's presented to me, he leans over and gives me a kiss on one cheek and says, this is from Raul, kisses me on the other cheek and says, this is from me, and then he kisses me on the forehead and says, this is from Fidel. It was kind of like getting the blessing of the Holy Trinity.

CORNISH: Ramon Castro died yesterday in Havana. He was 91. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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