As leaders around the globe offer their condolences to Cuba and commemorate the internationalist legacy of former President Fidel Castro, Venezuelan President Nicolas paid homage to the deceased revolutionary figure in the Caracas Revolution Museum near the mausoleum of late former President Hugo Chavez, who had found a lifelong friend and mentor in Fidel.
Fidel's Death 'Like a Nightmare'
Maduro honored the Comandante — as Fidel is known in Cuba and among his supporters in Latin America — by saying Saturday at the memorial he “was and will continue to be a living legend for all he did and still has to do,” suggesting that the political movements like Venezuela’s 21st Century socialism carry the torch of Fidel’s revolutionary struggle.
The Venezuelan president also recalled the close relationship between late President Hugo Chavez and the Cuban leader throughout Chavez’s 14 years as president from 1999 to 2013. Maduro said that the two leaders brought together “the old Cuban revolution and the new Bolivarian revolution” of Venezuela in a way that will live on in the future despite their passing.
Chavez had described Fidel as a father figure as well as a comrade in his fight against imperialism and toward socialism.
The two countries have enjoyed positive diplomatic relations and trade for years, including the exchange of Venezuelan oil for Cuban technical support in education, health care and other fields.
At Saturday’s memorial in Caracas, Venezuelan mourners watched a selection of videos of Fidel Castro throughout his life, including meetings with Chavez, accompanied by music by iconic Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodriguez and other Latin American artists.
The South American country has declared three days of mourning for the Cuban leader. Cuba, on the other hand, will observe nine days of mourning, include memorial services and a state funeral for Fidel when his ashes are put to rest Dec. 4 in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago, where Cuban independence hero Jose Marti and other revolutionary figures are also buried.
Cuba’s ambassador in Venezuela, Rodelio Polanco, thanked the Venezuelan government for the gesture honoring Fidel Castro.
The former Cuban president passed away at 10:29 p.m. local time Friday. He governed Cuba for nearly five decades after leading the revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed military dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista in 1959.