Sydney lawyer asked to help with photo exhibit by Castro’s son
SYDNEY — A local lawyer with connections in Cuba has been asked by an agent for one of Fidel Castro’s sons to help provide exposure for a proposed Canadian tour with Alex Castro and his photographs.
Castro has been known to sell some of his pictures, said Tony Magliaro, but that’s not the main reason for the proposed tour.
“I don’t think he’d be adverse to that, but I think it’s more for exposure,” the lawyer said. “I think getting his work recognized, that’s more important.”
Magliaro grew up in Sydney’s Whitney Pier neighbourhood, but his wife Ileana De La Torre is Cuban and their daughter is also Cuban, although their son is Canadian.
Magliaro said his family visits Cuba regularly, and the husband of his wife’s family doctor is acting as an agent for Alex Castro Soto del Valle, one of Fidel’s sons.
The agent, Rogelio Puentes Valdes, knew Magliaro was Canadian and sought his help organizing a Canadian tour, pressing him to look at an album of photographs last fall.
Magliaro said the pictures were nice, but he didn’t immediately recognize Alex Castro’s name.
“I was a little skeptical at first, but the skepticism soon vanished,” said Magliaro, adding he met the younger Castro last fall at the Riviera Hotel in Havana.
Castro, who is about 47 years old according to some press reports, had always wanted to be a photographer, Magliaro said, but at his father’s insistence he studied engineering in Moscow. According to one report, Castro worked as a computer programmer.
Once his obligation to his father was fulfilled, Magliaro added, he decided in 2006 to pursue his true passion.
“ There’s no question he’s a proud and loving son, but I think he’s also his own man and he loves to take photographs,” said Magliaro.
Castro likes taking pictures of scenery and models, Magliaro said, and has captured images of famous people and world leaders including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China.
Magliaro also said he’s no connoisseur of photography, but he was impressed with the quality of Castro’s photographs.
“I’m not trained in that area, I have no expertise in that area, but in my opinion there’s something that stands out,” he said. “I think this is his chosen career. He has a passion for this and I think it shows in his work.”
Magliaro has started contacting some art galleries and is trying to gauge interest in a Canadian tour for Castro and his pictures, and possibly a U.S. tour as well, “although that might be a little more difficult, given the politics,” he added.
Alex Castro, photographer and son of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, poses with a picture he took of his father, at a photo exhibit in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 12, 2009.