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Mariela Castro: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

mariela castro dead

(Getty)

The niece of Fidel Castro is alive and well and was not aboard the the Air Algerie flight that crashed today in Mali.

The airport where the flight originated posted on its Facebook page that Mariela Castro was aboard the doomed plane. The bogus news spread like wildfire but was soon debunked.

Here’s what should know about Mariel Castro and the rumors of her demise:


1. 116 People Are Feared Dead on Flight AH 5017, but Mariela Castro Was Not Among Them

mariela castro alive not dead, air algerie flight

Air Algerie flight AH 5017 disappeared from radar today over Mali as it flew from Ouagadougou to Algiers. Later the BBC reported that Algerian aviation officials said the plane has crashed and that French military jets were searching to locate it. The airline later confirmed that the plane had crashed, and BFMTV reported that the French military discovered wreckage. The plane carried 116 passengers and crew members.

As details emerged about the crash, the airport in Burkina Faso dropped an apparent bombshell, claiming in a now-deleted Facebook post (seen above) that Mariela Castro was named on the passenger list.

As condolences flooded the Twittersphere, BBC Havana correspondent Sarah Rainsford tweeted that there were no Cubans on the flight, and others tweeted that Mariela is at a conference in Havana.

Mariela herself then confirmed to a Venezuelan TV station that she is “alive and kicking, happy and healthy”:

mariela castro alive not dead, mariela castro flight ah5017, fidel niece not on air algerie flight

Air Algerie Flight Crashes: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Air Algerie Flight 5017 carrying 110 passengers and 6 crew fell off the radar and crashed. "We have lost contact with the plane."

Click here to read more

2. She’s Raul Castro’s Daughter & Fidel’s Niece

Mariela Castro arrives at a ceremony to receive the key to the city of Montevideo from Mayor Ana Olivera at Solis Theater in Montevideo on August 13, 2013. Castro was in Uruguay for the Regional Conference on Population and Development Latin America and the Caribbean. (AFP/Getty)

Mariela Castro arrives at a ceremony to receive the key to the city of Montevideo from Mayor Ana Olivera at Solis Theater in Montevideo on August 13, 2013. Castro was in Uruguay for the Regional Conference on Population and Development Latin America and the Caribbean. (AFP/Getty)

The 51-year-old Mariela Castro is the daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro and the niece of his brother and predecessor, Fidel Castro, who served as official president of Cuba from 1976 to 2008.


3. She’s a Well Regarded LGBT Rights Advocate

mariela castro

Mariela Castro, director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), participates in a march against homophobia on May 10, 2014, in Havana. (Getty)

Mariela Castro founded CENESEX, the National Center for Sex Education in Havana, Cuba. The government-funded organization has been leading the charge of LGBT rights in Cuba, including developing a program for providing state-funded sexual reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for those in need of it.

Cuba is known as a deeply homophobic country, and Mariela Castro’s efforts almost singlehandedly turned the tide.


4. She Is Outspoken on the Global AIDS Crisis

Mariela Castro, who served as director of the National Sexual Education Center of Cuba (Cenesex), gives a press conference on May 5 in Havana to launch the VII Cuban Symposium against Homophobia and Transphobia. (AFP/Getty)

Mariela Castro gives a press conference on May 5 in Havana to launch the VII Cuban Symposium against Homophobia and Transphobia. (AFP/Getty)

Along with her LGBT advocacy, Mariela Castro has been outspoken on the international AIDS crisis and HIV prevention. Her condom-distribution program has helped Cuba achieve of the world’s lowest HIV infection rates.


5. She Is Married With Children

Mariela Castro, with Dominican Women's Minister Alejandrina German (right), during a meeting with civil society representatives and members of the LGBT community in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on November 8, 2013. (AFP/Getty)

Mariela Castro, with Dominican Women’s Minister Alejandrina German (right), during a meeting with civil society representatives and members of the LGBT community in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on November 8, 2013. (AFP/Getty)

Mariela Castro is married to Italian Paolo Titolo, the general manager of Amorim Negocios, a wine cork distributor. The two have two children, plus a another child from her previous marriage to Chilean leftist Juan Gutierrez Fischmann.

Air Algerie Flight Crashes: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Air Algerie Flight 5017 carrying 110 passengers and 6 crew fell off the radar and crashed. "We have lost contact with the plane."

Click here to read more

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1 comment

  1. Mariela is an example of the younger and progressive new leadership in Cuba that seek to make changes to adapt to a changing society and world but have not lost sight of the goals and motivation for Cuba’s revolution. Revolution in Cuba is not just an event of the past, it is a commitment to constantly strive to build a better society.

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