This weekend, anyone who happens to be in Hanoi can breeze into the Embassy of Cuba and sign an official guest book laid out for the recent passing of Fidel Castro.
According to Cuba’s Head of Consular Affairs Ariadne Feo Labrada, the embassy will remain open to guests this weekend from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of a two-hour lunch break.
Labrada said Ambassador Hermino Lopez Diaz has personally received condolences from guests ranging from Vietnamese Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong to U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.
On Sunday evening, the president of the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association will attend a ceremony to mark the burial of Castro’s ashes at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.
The two nations have long maintained warm relations.
Raul Vivo Valdes (a former attaché to the Indochinese Communist Party) said Cuban engineers had assisted Vietnam in maintaining the Ho Chi Minh Trail, beginning in the early 1960s. Valdes also claimed to have maintained a secret embassy for the National Liberation Front.
During a visit to Quang Tri Province in 1973, Castro personally witnessed a piece of unexploded ordnance rip through Nguyen Thi Huong as she was filling bomb craters on the side of the road.
Castro stopped at the scene and volunteered his vehicle to transport Huong and other victims to Vinh Linh Hospital.
Learning of the news of Castro’s passing, Huong recalled that the delegation drove to a neighboring province to pick up the blood that saved her life.
In 1985, Huong had to decline an invitation to visit Castro in Cuba as she was recovering from the birth of her first daughter.
“I still regret it today,” she told VnExpress.
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