Why Fidel Castro’s eldest son committed suicide

Fidel Ángel “Fidelito” Castro Díaz-Balart took his own life in Havana after battling depression for months, state media reported.

Diaz-Balart, the eldest son to Cuba’s deceased president Fidel Castro, was found dead Thursday morning.


Diaz-Bazart was a nuclear physicist trained by the defunct Soviet Union.

The 68-year-old was once placed in charge of Cuba’s nuclear power program for a time until he fell out with his father.

“There was no resignation,” Mr Castro reportedly said at that time. “He was fired for incompetence. We don’t have a monarchy here.”

Popularly known as “Fidelito” or “Little Fidel” because of his resemblance to the former president, Diaz-Balart grew up in the United States. His mother Mirta Diaz-Balart left with him after separating from the late leader shortly before Cuba’s revolution, but he returned home later and never left again.


Image taken in 1959 shows the Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro and his son, Fidel Jr. (Source: AP)

State media reports say Diaz-Balart was receiving medical treatment as an outpatient in recent months, following a hospital stay.

“Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, who had been treated by a group of doctors for several months due to deep depression, took his life this morning,” Cuba’s official newspaper Granma reported – little more than a year after his father.

“Diaz-Balart, who had been attended by a group of doctors for several months due to a state of profound depression, committed suicide this morning,” Cubadebate website said.

His death comes as a surprise to many Cubans because the personal lives of all member of Fidel Castro’s family are kept away from the public eye, and for the fact that almost no-one knew he suffered mental health issues before his death was announced.

He had three children – Mirta María, Fidel Antonio and José Raúl – with Natasha Smirnova, whom he met in Russia after divorcing Smirnova, and later married María Victoria Barreiro from Cuba.

At the time of his death, Diaz-Bazart held positions as a scientific adviser for the Cuban Council of State and vice president of Cuba’s Academy of Sciences.

Funeral arrangements will be made by the family, state media said.


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