Kings of Spain will travel to Cuba for a historic meeting


King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia will 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.

The half-century of the foundation of Havana that 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 that the executive rejects and frames on the anniversary of the Cuban capital .

The central acts of that commemoration will be on November 16 and will be attended by leaders such as the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, and that of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega.

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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 "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 an official dinner with about 150 guests, and the next day the kings will invite the president and other Cuban authorities to a dinner at the Palace of the Captains General.

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 a floral offering on the 12th before the Jose Marti memorial and, together with Diaz-Canel, the signing of the Country Cooperation Framework Agreement, which marks the roadmap for bilateral cooperation.

The kings will visit the Efe and Iberia Agency exhibition on the graphic history of Spain and Cuba at the Great Theater in Havana, 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 Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos school-workshop, founded in 1992 with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation.

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

In this building, the historian Eusebio Leal will be awarded 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 then meet with Spanish businessmen with interests on the island to learn about their day-to-day problems.

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

On the last day, on November 14, they will visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Center for Molecular Immunology before moving to Santiago de Cuba, where diplomatic sources indicate that the most emotional act of the trip will take place, paying tribute to the Spaniards fallen 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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