Castro’s son commits suicide after battling depression

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2014 Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, son of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, participates in the inauguration of the 32nd Havana International Fair (FIHAV). (AFP)
Updated 02 February 2018

Castro’s son commits suicide after battling depression

HAVANA: The eldest son of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, committed suicide on Thursday aged 68 after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media reported.
Castro Diaz-Balart, also known as “Fidelito” because of how much he looked like his father, had initially been hospitalized for depression and then continued treatment as an outpatient.
“Castro Diaz-Balart, who had been attended by a group of doctors for several months due to a state of profound depression, committed suicide this morning,” Cubadebate website said.
Fidelito was born in 1949 out of his father’s brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart before he went on to topple a US-backed dictator and build a communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States during the Cold War.
Through his mother, he was the cousin of some of Castro’s most bitter enemies in the Cuban American exile community, US Representative Mario Diaz-Balart and former US congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
A nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, Castro Diaz-Balart had been working as a scientific counselor to the Cuban Council of State and Vice-president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the time of his death.
Previously, from 1980 to 1992, he was head of Cuba’s national nuclear program, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him.
Cuba halted its plant plans that same year because of a lack of funding after the collapse of Cuba’s trade and aid ties with the ex-Soviet bloc and Castro Diaz-Balart largely disappeared from public view, appearing at the occasional scientific conference.
His death came just over a year after that of his father on Nov. 26, 2016, aged 90. 


Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

Updated 8 min 55 sec ago

Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

  • Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts
  • Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016

JAKARTA: Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday she had been asked by President Joko Widodo to stay on in her post as his new cabinet takes shape for a second five-year term in office.

Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts, including his presidential election rival Prabowo Subianto, who looks set to be defense minister.

The candidates — all wearing white shirts — have come to the presidential palace to be interviewed by Widodo, with most declining to confirm the positions offered ahead of an official announcement expected on Wednesday.

After meeting Widodo, Indrawati said she had agreed to stay on as finance minister and to ensure policies supported the president’s priorities such as improving human resources, creating jobs and executing government budgets well.

“Indonesia I think is facing a very dynamic and uncertain global economy and an economic slowdown that is pressuring the whole world,” Indrawati said.

“Therefore, a continued policy is needed in order to be able to guard our economy from the challenge of this global slowdown,” she said, noting she also discussed ways to narrow Indonesia’s current account and trade deficits.

Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016, spearheading tax reform efforts, seeking to capitalize on a tax amnesty program in 2016-2017. She is now one of the longest serving finance ministers in Indonesia, having also held the post in the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Sri Mulyani is seen as a key architect behind the fiscal discipline in recent years and many wish for her continued leadership in driving deeper fiscal reforms,” Bank of America wrote in a note.

The make-up of the cabinet is being closely watched to see how many technocrats — who are more likely to fall in with Widodo’s plans for boosting growth and investment — were included.

Other ministerial candidates who came to the palace on Tuesday included Basuki Hadimuljono, who is credited with driving infrastructure projects as public works minister in Widodo’s first term, and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, environment minister in the first term.

On Monday, Nadiem Makarim, the chief executive of tech startup Gojek and media tycoon Erick Thohir, a former chairman of Italian soccer club Inter Milan, were among those confirming they had been asked to join the cabinet.

Speaking to media ahead of his inauguration on Sunday, Widodo said around 16 ministers in the new cabinet would come from political parties out of an anticipated 34 posts.