The top world leaders are skipping Castro’s funeral
The White House announced today that neither President Barack Obama, nor Vice President Joe Biden would be attending the state funeral of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. As of now the United States representative to the funeral has not yet been determined.
Joining Obama and Biden in not going to the funeral will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Most of the world’s top leaders have no plans to attend the funeral in Havana.
President-elect Donald Trump said Monday that he will ‘terminate’ the deals that Obama made with the Cuba if the government, led by Raul Castro since 2008, is ‘unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole.’
Castro died on Friday evening at the age of 90. The United States detente with Cuba came about after Castro passed on power to his brother, Raul, in 2014.
The U.S. and Cuba reopened embassies in Havana and Washington and fully resumed diplomatic relations in July of 2015.
Obama became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit Cuba in March and he met with Cuban leader Raúl Castro as well as dissident groups and members of civil society. President Obama did not meet with Fidel Castro on his visit.
Those going to the funeral will be Russian Vyacheslav Volodin, a close ally of Putin and chairman of the lower house of parliament, will head the Russian delegation for the 4 December funeral. The decision underlines the extent to which Moscow no longer regards Cuba as a client state, as it seeks to focus on extending its influence in the Middle East, Asia and central Europe.
Spain’s delegation will be led by former king Juan Carlos, and it is expected that the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, will fly to Havana to pay his respects.
The British government said it was unlikely that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would attend, making Sir Alan Duncan – the deputy foreign office minister responsible for the Americas – the most likely candidate to represent the UK.
Leftwing leaders from across Latin America will attend, including Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto has also decided to travel to Cuba for the commemoration, as has the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, who will probably view the visit as a welcome relief from efforts to oust him from office.
Argentina will be represented by its foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, rather than its conservative leader Mauricio Macri. In its message of condolence, Argentina thanked Castro for his support of its claim to the Falklands Islands.