First meeting between Fidel and ChávezCuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro recalled today, through messages on Twitter, the first meeting between leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez in Havana, in 1994.

Havana, Cuba.- “Fidel and Chávez, their first hug, historic and memorable,” wrote Díaz-Canel on his Twitter account where he attached a link to an article in Cubadebate website.

The article, signed by Cuban former ambassador in Venezuela, Germán Sánchez, narrates the various meetings between both leaders and their friendship, which resulted in a regional project of independence in several areas.

It also remembers Chavez's speech at the Aula Magna of the University of Havana when he expressed that Cuba was a bastion of Latin American dignity.

On the other hand, Fidel, an advance to his time, perceived in the young Venezuelan revolutionary his oratory qualities and commitment to the liberation of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Four years later, Chávez swept at the polls in his country and began a process of transformations in the society, economy, politics and culture known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan president claimed that the meeting between these two men, 25 years ago, marked human history and allowed the realization of the dreams of independence leaders Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) and Jose Marti (1853-1895).

“With Chavez and Fidel's brotherhood, the seed of hope was reborn in the peoples of Our America,” Maduro tweeted.

A decade after the first meeting between Chavez and Castro, on December 13, 1994, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) was created, promoted by both leaders.

Invited by the Simón Bolívar Cultural House and Historian Eusebio Leal, Chávez, who at the time led the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, arrived for the first time in Cuba and was received by Fidel Castro.

“We are determined to raise an ideological flag relevant and favorable to our Venezuelan land, our Latin-American land; and it is the Bolivarian flag,” Chávez said then.
As an example of the ties between both countries and their leaders' strategic vision, the Cuba-Venezuela Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement was created in 2000.
This alliance has resulted in the signing of more than 1,400 exchange projects, with particular emphasis on health services, medical supplies, consultancy and training of human resources in educational, sports, cultural, and productive programs.

Collaborators, doctors, stomatologists, nurses, as well as health technicians and professionals of other occupational categories make up the more than 227,000 Cubans that have completed missions in Venezuela, in these 19 years of joint cooperation.

This cooperation was strengthened with the Barrio Adentro Mission (Inside the Neighborhood Mission), a social program implemented in 2013 that comprises the creation of local doctor's offices in the poorest communities, and offers specialized, preventive, and free healthcare in this South American nation. (PL/ P26)