Eldest Son of Fidel Castro commits suicide
The eldest son of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, committed suicide on Thursday after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media reported.
The 68 yr- old multilingual nuclear scientist, also known as “Fidelito”, or Little Fidel, had initially been hospitalized and then continued treatment as an outpatient.
A multilingual nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, Castro Diaz-Balart was head of Cuba’s national nuclear programme from 1980 to 1992, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him.
Fidelito, who had the highest public profile of all Castro’s children, was born in 1949 out of his brief marriage to Mirta DiazBalart before he went on to topple a US-backed dictator and build a communist-run state on the doorstep of the US during the Cold War.
Through his mother, Castro Diaz-Balart was the cousin of some of Castro’s most bitter enemies in the Cuban American exile community, US Representative Mario DiazBalart and former US congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
He was also the subject of a dramatic custody dispute between the two families as a child. Cuba scholars say his mother took him with her to the US when he was aged five after announcing she wanted a divorce from Castro, while he was imprisoned for an attack on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago. He came back to Cuba after the 1959 revolution.
Fidelito was head of Cuba’s national nuclear programme from 1980 to 1992, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until he was fired. The programme was halted the same year due to lack of funding after the collapse of Cuba’s trade and aid ties with the ex-Soviet bloc.
Before his death, Fidelito had been working for his uncle President Raul Castro as a scientific counselor to the Cuban Council of State and Vice President of the Cuban Academy of Sciences.