HAVANA – Fidel Castro held a “friendly” meeting with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who is on an official visit to Cuba, exchanging views on the recent United Nations vote against the U.S. embargo on the island, Cuban state-run media reported on Thursday.
Castro welcomed Rebelo de Sousa at his home, as is the custom of the former Cuban leader, who appears smiling in the photograph accompanying the report on the meeting published in the official daily Granma.
At the meeting, Rebelo de Sousa emphasized Portugal’s position against the U.S. “blockade,” which he called a “universally rejected extra-territorial practice,” the article said.
The nonagenarian leader of the Cuban Revolution thanked the European nation for its stance, emphasizing the “conviction” of the Caribbean country and reiterating the “brutal and inhumane nature of that policy, which the Cuban people will never accept.”
Castro, who stepped down as Cuba’s leader in 2006, turned 90 on Aug. 13, an anniversary that was celebrated on the island with numerous tributes and events.
Since then, he has welcomed several visiting leaders in Havana, including Iranian President Hassan Rohani, the prime ministers of Japan and China – Shinzo Abe and Li Keqiang, respectively – and, more recently, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, on Oct. 14.
The annually submitted UN resolution condemning the U.S. embargo on the communist island on Wednesday received overwhelming support in the General Assembly, and – for the first time – the United States abstained, rather than voting against it.
This is the first time that a serving Portuguese president has traveled to Cuba and Rebelo de Sousa’s first visit to the Caribbean nation since his investiture as head of state last March.
The Portuguese leader met on Wednesday with his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, and on Thursday he will wrap up his agenda in the Cuban capital with a conference at the University of Havana regarding Portuguese relations with Latin America.