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Maduro Pays Surprise Visit to Cuba on Castro’s Death Anniversary

Maduro Pays Surprise Visit to Cuba on Castro’s Death Anniversary
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By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made a surprise appearance in Havana 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 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 carry his name.

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

Also banned, following Castro's wishes, is the erection of monuments, busts, statues or plaques in his name or image – though this has not prevented the proliferation of murals and placards honoring the late leader on the streets of Havana.

Castro led the revolution that ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and is credited with creating Cuba's social welfare system, which provides healthcare 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 seat of government, the Palace of the Revolution, "is as he left it on his last day there."