Maduro makes a surprising visit to Havana when Cuba celebrates Castro’s death anniversary

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

Mature, who had not traveled to Cuba since December 2019, followed by its Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel at the ceremony, which was broadcast by state television. With them was Castro’s brother and former president Raul Castro.

The Fidel Castro Ruz Center in the capital, Havana, is the first and only Cuban building to bear his name.

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

Also prohibited, according to Castro’s wishes, is the erection of monuments, busts, statues or plaques in his name or image – although this has not prevented the spread of murals and posters honoring the late leader on the streets of Havana.

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

“It inspires me”

A national hero for most Cubans, but a villain in the Western world, Castro fell ill in 2006 and handed over power to his brother and revolutionary fighter Raul.

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 Diaz-Canel, who took over from Raul Castro in 2018, tweeted on Thursday that Fidel Castro’s office at the government seat, the Palace of the Revolution, “is like he left it on his last day there”.

“I try to imagine him in the middle of the hard battles over so many challenging years. It inspires me, it excites me. And I’m still fighting,” the president said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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