The family of Fidel Castro practically unknown to Cubans

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Dalia Soto del Valle (right) with Alexander (left), one of the children he had with Fidel Castro, and an unidentified woman at an event at Havana's Cabaret Tropicana in February 2001. Jorge Rey Getty Images

The death of Fidel Castro has raised uncomfortable questions about the future of his immediate family in Cuba, a group notable for its size – at least six children, maybe nine – and how little is known about them.

Except for two of his sons and Fidel’s wife, the rest of his offspring are largely unknown to the Cubans, have not held any political posts and appear to have no ambition whatsoever to play any part in the future of the island.

THE VISION FOR CUBA AFTER FIDEL CASTRO 

But Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and successor and long-time leader of Castro’s family affairs, will have to deal with them to protect Fidel’s legacy and ensure his security and economic solvency, According to several analysts.

They may not hold important positions in the government, analysts said, but will be allowed to take discreet advantage of their surname so they can earn a living and remain loyal to Raul and his future successors.

“It would be terrible if the children of Fidel began to say that they can not live, that they have been abandoned by the revolution of their father,” said a former assistant to Raul Castro who defected years ago and asked to remain anonymous because he has family in Cuba.

Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, died and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the death of his brother Fidel at 10:29 p.m. on Friday in a televised message and said his remains would be cremated.

Fidel Castro left behind a large family – a wife of about 70 and at least seven, perhaps as many as 11 or more children with several women.

His family nucleus in Cuba consists of seven members: his second wife Dalia Soto del Valle, the blonde and green-eyed literate he met around 1961; had his five children with her; and his eldest son, Fidel “Fidelito” Castro Díaz-Balart, from his first marriage.

CALM IN THE STREETS OF HAVANA JUST HOURS AFTER THE DEATH OF FIDEL CASTRO

Dalia is a “strong person” who held the reins of the family when Fidel was not there, but who lacks personal power or ambitions, said Juan R. Sánchez, who was Fidel’s bodyguard and personal assistant for 17 years before he was exiled in 2009.

“I imagine that Raul will continue to care for them as he cared for the others,” Sanchez told El Nuevo Herald, referring to his younger brother’s reputation for personally handling most of the Castro family’s affairs.

It is also likely that Raul will giving work to Fidelito, added Sanchez, “not front-line but in some sphere of government.” He added that Fidelito lived for many years in the same apartment building in Havana as Raúl, and that the two get along quite well.

Dalia and her children will want to be assured of their post-Fidel future, but they have no political influence and will therefore avoid having problems with Raúl, said Delfín Fernández, an assistant to the families of Fidel and Raúl Castro who went into exile in the 1990 s.

WITHOUT THEIR POLITICAL BRAIN

They, the family “will be more interested in securing the family’s financial legacy, their chances of doing business and taking advantage of Fidel’s name,” added Fernandez.

Fidel kept his family veiled in secret for decades, saying it was a necessity because of more than 600 alleged assassination attempts on his own lif. The first details about Dalia and her children were made public in 1992, when her eldest son was about 30 years old. His first photos were published in 2000, but only in the foreign press.

Most Cubans would not recognize them if they were seen on the street.

IN OUR OPINION: TO THE DEATH OF FIDEL CASTRO

The names of the five children of Dalia begin with A – Alexis, Alexander, Antonio, Alexander and Angel – due to the admiration of Fidel by the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great. They all have the surnames Castro Soto del Valle.

Most of them studied at the Lenin school in Havana, reserved for Cuban elites, and lived most of their lives in Punto Cero, the heavily guarded neighborhood west of Havana where Fidel, Raúl and other senior leaders have lived as Revolutionaries.

 

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