Kings of Spain travel to Cuba for a historic visit


King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia travel to Cuba tomorrow to start the first state visit of a Spanish monarch to that Caribbean country in 500 years.

The trip, questioned by both the Spanish opposition and the Cuban dissent, it will include meetings with the president of the country, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and other authorities, but not with anti-Castro.

He half a century of the foundation of Havana which is commemorated this month led to the end of this trip of the kings just the day after the general elections in Spain.

This official trip has been questioned by the right-wing opposition, considering that it contributes to guarantee the Cuban regime, a criticism that coincides with that of some groups of dissidents on the island, but which the executive rejects and frames in the anniversary of the Cuban capital.

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The central acts of that commemoration will be the Nov. 16 and they will have the presence of leaders such as the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, and the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega.

On that date the kings will no longer be in Cuba and, according to diplomatic sources, beyond the fact that the photo with them has been avoided, the actual visit (with acts in Havana and Santiago de Cuba) has been intended to take place a few days before to give it its own profile due to its historical and institutional character.

They also stress that the trip "It is not a manifestation of support for anything" but a normalization of relations with a member of the Ibero-American community with whom there was an "anomaly."

Felipe VI and Queen Letizia will leave Madrid on Monday and arrive that same day in the Cuban capital, but they will not start their official agenda until the following day, November 12, when the president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, will welcome them at the headquarters of the State Council.

In that same place he will offer you a official dinner with about 150 guests, and the next day it will be the kings who invite the president and other Cuban authorities to a dinner at the Palace of the General Captains.

There will be no encounter with dissidents of the Cuban regime, but a meeting with representatives of the civil society of the island to also know his vision.

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Although it has not been made public who will be present in that conversation, diplomatic sources point out that there will be, among others, intellectuals, self-employed and independent journalists.

The official agenda includes day 12 a floral offering before the memorial of Jose Marti and, together with Diaz-Canel, the signing of the Country Cooperation Framework Agreement, which marks the roadmap of bilateral cooperation.

The kings will visit in the Great Theater of Havana the exhibition of the Agency Efe and Iberia on the graphic history of Spain and Cuba, and will attend a dance gala in which tribute will be paid to the Cuban dancer and choreographer Alicia Alonso, who died last month.

In addition, the queen will move to the school-workshop Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, founded in 1992 with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation.

On November 13 the kings will tour Old Havana and they will stop at places like the Plaza de Armas, the Second Cape Palace and the Palace of the General Captains.

In this building the historian will be decorated Eusebio Loyal with the Great Cross of Carlos III and a pastry chef with the Havana shield made in the Royal Tapestry Factory will be delivered to the city.

They will then offer a reception to the Spanish community in Cuba which will be attended by a thousand people and the king will look next with spanish businessmen with interests in the island to know the problems of their day to day.

Approximately 300 Spanish companies are installed in Cuba, especially in the tourism sector, where 70% of the rooms operate in a mixed regime with the Cuban Government.

The agenda for that day is completed with your attendance at two presentations, the book of the Spanish Javier Mariscal on the 500 years of Havana and the work "The Guardian", a warrior figure made by Xavier Mascaro.

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On the last day, On November 14, they will visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Molecular Immunology Center before moving to Santiago de Cuba, where diplomatic sources indicate that the most emotional act of the trip will take place, paying homage to the Spaniards who fell in 1898 in the war against the United States.

A similar tribute will be in the Loma de San Juan, where two days before the collapse of the Spanish fleet there was a fierce battle against the US troops that preceded the capture of the city.

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