Cuba: Fidel Castro’s eldest son ‘kills himself’

HAVANA – Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, a nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, took his own life on Thursday after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media has reported.

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

The 68-year-old son was found dead in Havana, according to the state media.

Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart was born in 1949, during his father’s brief first marriage to Mirta Díaz-Balart, the daughter of a prominent pre-revolution politician.

The first-born son of the late president was nicknamed “Fidelito”, or Little Fidel, after his father.

A nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, Diaz-Balart had been working as a scientific counsellor to the Cuban council of state, as well as vice-president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, at the time of his death.

He headed the island’s nuclear program from 1980 to 1992, before it was suspended after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

He was married to María Victoria Barreiro and had three children from his previous marriage – Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnov, Mirta María Castro Smirnova and Jos­é Raúl Castro Smirnov.

His father, who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States during the cold war, died on 26 November 2016 aged 90.

The TV announcement said Diaz-Balart’s funeral would be planned by his family, but no further details were given.