One of Havana’s grandest mansions has been restored to its shimmering beauty as a shrine to Cuba’s most contentious statesman.
The Centro Fidel Castro Ruz opened last month in grounds filled with 10,000 plants from more than 1,300 species, three years after work was begun and five years to the day after the Cuban leader died.
At a ceremony attended by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on 25 November, Fidel’s brother Raul, 90, welcomed the new museum, calling it “the most exciting thing I’ve seen in my life”. The opening comes at a time when Cuba is struggling financially even more than usual amid a pandemic and as economic woes are growing under government mismanagement and the 60-year-old US embargo.
It also comes as the government is celebrating stifling much-heralded protests that were planned last month. Yet, two blocks from the museum, a queue forms every day for people buying food.
The grounds of the centre contain a 190-seat theatre and an exhibition space in the leafy barrio of Vedado. In the garden, a fountain pours onto rocks brought from Rio La Plata, a river whose source was in the mountains where Fidel had his first command post in 1958 as head of the rebel army.
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