Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has made a surprise visit to the Cuban capital Havana. He was there in honour of the death of Fidel Castro, the former leader of the island who passed away on Thursday exactly five years ago at the age of 90.
Maduro had not travelled to Cuba since December 2019. He was accompanied on his visit, which was broadcast on state television, by the current president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel. In addition, former president and also Fidel’s brother, Raul Castro, was present.
Fidel Castro is still considered a national hero for most Cubans. The bearded, cigar-smoking Castro, nicknamed “el comandante,” was the country’s undisputed leader from 1959 to 2006. In that time, he survived 600 assassination plots and defied opposition from the United States, which saw the island as an outpost of the Soviet Union.
A new centre was unveiled in honour of Fidel Castro on Thursday. The Fidel Castro Ruz Center in Havana is the first and only building in Cuba to bear his name. To prevent Castro’s cult status, the Cuban authorities decided a month after his death that no statues of him were allowed and streets and squares could not be named after ‘el commandere’.