Venezuela's Maduro makes surprise visit to Cuba

Cuban President Raul Castro (right) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pay their respects at the tomb of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba on August 15, 2017 (AFP Photo/HO)
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Havana (AFP) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro paid tribute to the late leftist icon Fidel Castro during a surprise visit to Cuba, state media reported Wednesday.

The daily Granma said Maduro traveled Tuesday to Castro's tomb in Santiago de Cuba.

Maduro was accompanied by his wife Cilia Flores, Cuban President Raul Castro -- Fidel's brother -- and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, according to the newspaper.

"On the 91th birthday of the Commander in Chief a tribute by the president of Venezuela was appropriate for someone who always stood by the Bolivarian revolution," the newspaper said.

Fidel Castro, born on August 13, 1926, died in November 2016. His remains are buried at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, some 960 kilometers east of Havana.

Venezuela is Cuba's most important economic and political ally, and Havana has offered strong support for Maduro's embattled leftist regime.

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