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By Pascal Fletcher
MIAMI (Reuters) - The younger sister of Fidel and Raul Castro, Juanita Castro, collaborated with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency against her brothers' rule in Cuba before going into exile in Miami in 1964, she said on Sunday.
Juanita Castro, 76, who has not spoken to either of her brothers for more than four decades, made the revelation to the Spanish-language TV channel Univision-Noticias 23 on the eve of the publication of her memoirs about Fidel and Raul Castro.
The book in Spanish entitled "Fidel and Raul, My Brothers, the Secret History," co-written with Mexican journalist Maria Antonieta Collins, is being published on Monday.
After initially supporting Fidel Castro's 1959 Revolution that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Juanita Castro said she became disillusioned by the way her elder brother was executing opponents and moving the island towards communism.
"I began to become disenchanted when I saw so much injustice," she said in an interview with Collins broadcast by Univision-Noticias 23.
Juanita Castro said that from her house in Havana, she had worked to shelter and help those who were being persecuted by Fidel Castro's government. "My situation in Cuba became delicate because of my activity against the regime," she said.
She told Collins said that one day a person close to both her and Fidel Castro brought her an invitation from the CIA asking her to collaborate with the U.S. spy agency.
"They wanted to talk to me because they had interesting things to tell me, and interesting things to ask me, such as if I was willing to take the risk, if I was ready to listen to them -- I was rather shocked, but anyway I said yes," Juanita Castro told Collins.
Collins said that "in this way began a long relationship with the arch-enemy of Fidel Castro, the Central Intelligence Agency."
"During three years, from 1961 to 1964, at the risk of her own life, the work of Juanita Castro was to save the lives of her compatriots long before she left for exile in Miami," Collins added, without giving more details.
Juanita Castro, who worked quietly in Miami for more than three decades running a community pharmacy before retiring in late 2006, last spoke to her brother Fidel at her home in Havana in 1963 when their mother, Lina Ruz Gonzalez, died of a heart attack. She last spoke to her other brother Raul in 1964, just days before she left Cuba to go into exile, she said.
Former leader Fidel Castro, 83, who established a one-party communist system in Cuba after the 1959 revolution and ruled the island for nearly half a century, last year handed over the presidency to his younger brother Raul Castro, 78.
Juanita has been a strong critic of Fidel Castro's communist rule in Cuba, saying he betrayed the democratic principles he originally claimed to espouse by turning to Marxism and aligning Cuba with the Soviet Union.
(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher, editing by Jackie Frank)