Maduro makes a surprise visit to Havana as Cuba commemorates the anniversary of Castro’s death


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro made a surprise appearance in Havana on Thursday at the inauguration of the Fidel Castro Ruz center, which preserves the late president’s writings, five years after his death.

Maduro, who had not traveled to Cuba since December 2019, accompanied his Cuban counterpart Miguel Díaz-Canel at the ceremony, which was broadcast on state television. With them was Castro’s brother and former president Raúl Castro.

The Fidel Castro Ruz center in the capital Havana is the first and only Cuban building that bears his name.

A law passed a month after his death in 2016 prohibits the naming of institutions, squares, parks, roads or other public places in honor of the former president and leader of the Communist Party.

It is also prohibited, following Castro’s wishes, the construction of monuments, busts, statues or plaques in his name or image, although this has not prevented the proliferation of murals and posters in honor of the late leader in the streets of Havana.

The only exceptions to the rule are made for institutions created solely for “the study and dissemination of their thought and work.”

‘It inspires me’

A national hero for most Cubans, but a villain of the West, Castro fell ill in 2006 and handed over power to his brother and fellow revolutionary Raúl.

Castro led the revolution that overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and is credited with creating Cuba’s social welfare system, which provides health care and education for all.

Cuban President Díaz-Canel, who replaced Raúl Castro in 2018, tweeted on Thursday that Fidel Castro’s office at the government headquarters, the Palace of the Revolution, “is as he left it on his last day there.”

“I try to imagine it in the midst of the tough battles of so many challenging years. It inspires me, it excites me. And I keep fighting,” said the president.

( Jowharwith AFP)