Fidel Castro’s Son Commits Suicide: Is Depression Bigger Than We Thought?

Posted by ED Times in Mental Health, Politics, Sci-Tech
February 6, 2018

By Chirali Sharma:

Fidel Castro’s eldest son, Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart, committed suicide at the age of 68 on February 1, 2018.

The man, born to Fidel Castro, Cuban leader and communist revolutionary, and his first wife Mirta Diaz-Balart, was getting outpatient care for suffering from depression.

As per the state media of Cuba, the body of Fidel Castro’s eldest son was found on Thursday in Havana.

Granma, Cuba’s official newspaper, stated, “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.”

The suicide comes not long after Fidel Castro himself took his leave from this world. The suicide definitely makes one wonder who this man was beyond just being Fidel Castro’s son.

Who Was Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart?

After her divorce from Castro, Balart’s mother, taking her son with her along with her family moved to Miami in the United States. However, he remained in Cuba after 1959.

During his time in his father’s regime, Diaz-Balart studied in the Soviet Union as a nuclear physicist and then was in charge of the nuclear program of Cuba from 1980 to 1992. The program after the Soviet Union’s collapse was suspended. Before his untimely passing, Balart was working as the scientific adviser for the Cuban Council of State along with being the vice president of Cuba’s Academy of Sciences.

After that, he was briefly married to Natasha Smirnova, after meeting her in Russia, and had 3 children- Mirta María Castro Smirnova, Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnova, and José Raúl Castro Smirnova.

Balart later separated from Smirnova and married the Cuban María Victoria Barreiro.

Balart was also given the nickname and popularly known as ‘Little Fidel’ or ‘Fidelito’ due to his stark and eerie resemblance to his father Fidel Castro.

His Relationship With His Father

Certain reports have revealed that while Fidelito was earlier in agreement with his father’s ideals and those of the Cuban Revolution, in recent times, he had grown distant from both.

The firing from his position along with being sidelined from key decision-making processes, especially those concerning energy resources, as stated by sources, could have been places where Fidelito felt dwarfed by his father’s presence.

Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado a colleague of Mr Diaz-Balart, told Reuters that “His ideas for developing renewable energy on the island were not incorporated into state policy.”

“I imagine that was disappointing for him,” added Mr Benjamin-Alvarado.

What Problem Was He Going Through?

While the Castro family’s problems were kept quiet from the larger public, the news did come out that the eldest son of Fidel Castro was suffering from depression.

Not only that, but the situation was at a level that the late nuclear physicist was first hospitalised for it and then later continued with his treatment from outside the hospital.

Other than the news we are aware of, it is possible that Mr Diaz-Balart was suffering from much more than we know.

Do First World Problems Matter?

The suicide of Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart certainly brings to light an important question – whether privileged people’s problems – or first world problems – matter.

For all intents and purposes, Mr Diaz-Balart had nothing to want for. He was from a powerful family with an internationally known father and he very possibly had everything he wanted.

However, even then, the man still suffered from depression. As we can see, not everything was right in his life. From allegedly being neglected by his father, to having little to no control in his field, ‘Little Fidel’ did not exactly lead an easy life.

So one has to think before saying that a privileged person cannot have issues or problems.

A version of this post was first published here.