Juan Izquierdo, Havana, 1 February 2023 — On February 1, 2018, excluded from the leadership of Cuban power and victim of frequent depressive episodes, Fidel Ángel Castro Díaz-Balart committed suicide. He was the only child from the first marriage of Fidel Castro, who had died a year earlier, and both the official press and the authorities avoided giving prominence to the event.
Five years later, the same silence is repeated. The only person who has taken care to remember Castro Díaz-Balart is his son, Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnov –professor of Nuclear Physics in Havana – who for months has been determined to claim the role of his family branch through tweets and media parachute jumps that he dedicates to his grandfather and father.
“Five years ago I lost my best friend, my paradigm of a man and an intellectual. His example was enough, but he was also an extraordinary father,” Castro Smirnov wrote this Wednesday , without referring to the “attack on life” after months of medical care for a “deep depressive state” as indicated by Cuban Television. “With us today, Professor Dr. Cs. Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart breathes, thinks, walks, does and feels,” said the young man, who always refers to his father with his title.
Castro’s “cursed heir” was buried in a dark, wine-red granite tomb, in a pantheon belonging to the Cuban Academy of Sciences, as this newspaper recently verified.
It is the same place where French scientist André Voisin was buried in 1964; Fidel Castro was obsessed with this ideas on cattle raising. The pantheon is discreet and was decorated with a small tombstone containing the full name of Castro Díaz-Balart and his birth and death dates, as well as his titles of Professor and Doctor of Science. It is also far from the memorials dedicated to the heroes of the country, which gives an idea of the place the Revolution reserves for suicides.
Through Twitter, at scientific conferences in Cuba and abroad, and even in the official press, Castro Smirnov frequently refers to his family’s relationship with Fidel and Raúl Castro and defends his father’s scientific legacy.
The “rescue” began on the first anniversary of his grandfather’s death, in 2017, a few months before his father’s suicide. In a tearjerking article published in Cubadebate, he wrote: “I am Fidel. My father is Fidel. My grandfather is and will always be the eternal and undefeated Fidel. My name is Fidel, and my life is called Fidel. My thoughts, my dreams, my desires, are also called Fidel.”
In the same article, he affirmed his need to speak “often” with the deceased, defended Castro’s “physical” survival, his “strength (stronger than nuclear forces),” as well as “Fidel’s dynamics, the wave of Fidel, Fidel’s light (the most beautiful and intense), Fidel’s movement, Fidel’s magnetism.” All of this, according to the young scientist, “endures” beyond death, since “everything is Physics.”
Since 2016, Castro Smirnov has been “jumping for Fidel,” expensive skydiving maneuvers in different parts of the Island, which, together with the private photos of his family that he publishes regularly, have made him one of the most media-prominent members of Castro descendants.
Along with the commemorative tweet of his father’s death, Castro Smirnov today revealed several photographs where his great-uncle Raúl Castro poses with his mother, Mirta Díaz-Balart, who was divorced from Fidel Castro in 1955, as well as several images of his father smiling with Fidel Castro, in uniform.
In none of his frequent messages does the grandson allude to the distance between Fidel’s eldest son and the children of Dalia Soto del Valle, Fidel Castro’s second wife. The widow and her children were the ones who went first during the caudillo’s funeral, while Castro Smirnov and his father had to present their tribute in second place.
Various media outlets and observers around the Castros have pointed out that, despite appearances, Castro Smirnov was not excluded from the family’s life of luxury and comfort. In addition to the parachute “jumps,” photographs of him at parties and receptions have been revealed where he is accompanied by Professor Marxlenin Pérez, host of the official program Cuadrando la caja [Squaring the Box], who uses the last name Castro when she accompanies the young scientist.
Discreetly, Castro Smirnov has been rehabilitating his father’s image. Five years after the death of Castro Díaz-Balart, he is the only one of Castro’s grandchildren who can boast of a notable academic background and media talent that, without a doubt, he knows how to take advantage of.
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