Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fidel Castro's former wife visits Cuba, son

Posted on Monday, 11.17.08
Fidel Castro's former wife visits Cuba, son
The former wife of Cuba's Fidel Castro, Mirta Díaz-Balart, joined her
son Fidel Jr. in a science expo in Havana, their first public appearance
in many years.
El Nuevo Herald

Mirta Díaz-Balart, the first wife of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, is in
Havana to visit family.

Díaz-Balart, 80, joined her son Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, 59, at the
inauguration of the second International Seminar of Nano-science and
Nano-technology that drew 35 leading scientists from Germany, France,
China, Japan, Great Britain, Spain and Russia.

The event is being held at the Center for Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology, in the Havana neighborhood of Siboney, where mother and
son allowed themselves to be photographed by members of the press.

The photos are the first of Mirta and Castro Díaz-Balart together in
Cuba that have been published in decades.

''She looked radiant, very content to be together with Fidelito,'' noted
one attendant of the ceremony in Havana. ``She is a woman that has
conserved herself extremely well despite her years.''

Castro Díaz-Balart, who is an engineering professor and scientific
advisor to the Cuban Council of State, gave a talk entitled, ''The Great
Challenge of the Small: The Cuban Strategy for Nano-technology'' and
outlined the island-nation's projects in this field.

After the presentation, Castro Díaz-Balart posed for pictures with his
mother in the conference room where Fernando González, Cuban minister of
science, technology and the environment, was also present.

Though Mirta has traveled to the island on previous occasions, this was
the first time she has attended a public function, having avoided the
press for years, reluctant to speak publicly about her family.

According to Spanish daily El Confidencial, her last visit to Cuba took
place in July 2006. According to sources cited by the Spanish newspaper,
in 2006 Mirta went to visit her ex-husband Fidel Castro after he was
operated on July 27 of that year.

During that trip to Havana, her husband of 45 years and father of her
two daughters, Emilio Nuñez Portuondo, died in Madrid.

Mirta Francisca de la Caridad Díaz-Balart Gutiérrez and Fidel Castro Ruz
met while attending law school at the University of Havana. They were
married on Oct. 11, 1948, and divorced seven years later. Their only son
was born on Sept. 1, 1949. The boy would soon be at the center of a
custody battle in Mexico in 1956.

Mirta has lived in Madrid since 1968 and is the aunt of U.S. Reps.
Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans of Florida.

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