A new book by journalist Ann Louise Bardach, Without Fidel, which chronicles the lives of Fidel and Raúl Castro, offers details on a much-gossiped-about but not well documented aspect of Fidel’s life: a relentless womanizing that according to a review in London’s Telegraph newspaper has resulted in “almost a tribe” of children. Here are some excerpts from the article, which you can access through the link below (and which offers details on the tally of children Fidel has fathered).
When journalist Ann Louise Bardach asked Castro how many children he had during an interview with Vanity Fair in 1993, he smiled and answered “almost a tribe”.
. . .
Castro, now 83, was a dashing young man whose good looks and rebel swagger clearly leant him a strong sexual allure during the years before and after the 1959 revolution. Indeed, media reports describe female fans swooning after he arrived triumphantly in Havana and during early trips to the US.
He had one child, Fidelito (Little Fidel), with his first wife Myrta Diaz-Balart in 1949 and five boys between 1962 and 1974 with Dalia Soto del Valle, a little-seen companion whom he is said to have secretly married in 1980. Remarkably, she was first shown on Cuban television in 2003 – “so forbidden” was Castro’s personal domain, Ms Bardach observes.
But there have been many more paramours and several other children along the way – most notably from the time when the 29-year-year old rebel leader celebrated his release from prison in 1955 for a failed uprising.
For three Castro offspring were born to three women during 1956. Most famously, there was Natalia Revuelta, an aristocratic beauty who became a fierce defender of his revolution – she bore him a daughter, Alina Fernandez.
Ms Bardach, an investigative journalist and a member of the Cuba Study Group at the Brookings Institution think-tank, had previously reported the existence of another illegitimate 1956 child, Panchita Pupo. She was not even known to his other offspring and her mother remains unidentified.
And in this book, she reveals the identity of the mother of Jorge Angel, the third Castro child of 1956 – Maria Laborde, an admirer who Castro met just after was he freed.
She also discloses another apparent addition to the brood – a son known as Ciro, the early 1960s product of another brief fling. He was previously unknown outside the family inner circle, but a close relative of Celia Sanchez, Castro’s closest confidante and yet another rumoured lover, revealed his existence to the author.