MIAMI (AP) - Cuban exile Hilda Caballero Diaz-Balart, the mother of two South Florida members of Congress, has died. She was 88.
Caballero Diaz-Balart died peacefully Wednesday at her Miami home, her family said.
Her son, former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, told The Associated Press she "simply felt faint and left yesterday."
Caballero Diaz-Balart's youngest son Mario currently represents South Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her son Jose is a top news anchor for Telemundo. Her eldest son Rafael is a banker.
The daughter of a sugar mill engineer, Caballero Diaz-Balart was born in Camaguey, Cuba in 1924. She married the late Rafael Diaz-Balart, a prominent Cuban lawmaker under Fulgencio Batista. Her husband was a close friend of Fidel Castro while the two were at the University of Havana, and her husband's sister became Castro's first wife. But he and Castro had a falling out and became staunch political enemies. Lincoln Diaz-Balart said his mother, unlike his father, was always wary of Castro.
"She always saw the essence of people," he said. He called her the "ultimate adviser," someone he spoke to almost every night.
Caballero Diaz-Balart fled Cuba with her husband in December of 1958, shortly before Castro declared the Cuban revolution victorious - expecting to return a few months later. She never did. She and her husband, who became an outspoken exile leader, lived in Spain for a time and divorced in 1975.
A mass will be held in her memory at 2 p.m. Friday at St. Peter & Paul Church in Miami.
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