The last public picture of Fidel Castro has surfaced — taken just 10 days before his death.
The shot, snapped by the Associated Press, shows the former Cuban president and revolutionary meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and his wife Nguyen Thi Hien – who together presented the ailing Castro with a painted portrait of himself.
The moment was captured on Nov. 15, during Quang’s trip to Havana. Another picture shows the two shaking hands. Castro is seated and smiling in the photo — while wearing khaki pants, a blue and grey plaid shirt and a while Puma track jacket.
According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre News, the Vietnamese head of state and the first lady paid a visit to Castro’s residence upon their arrival in Cuba — with a delegation of high-ranking officials by their side.
During their conversation, President Quang stressed that Vietnamese people and government have always appreciated Castro’s contribution to the two nations’ relationship over the past five decades, Tuoi Tre News reported — and called to continue strengthening the relationship between the two countries.
The two reviewed historic milestones in the Cuba-Vietnam relationship while discussing global and local issues. Quang even praised Castro on Cuba’s recent economic developments and foreign policy.
Castro died on Friday at 10:29 p.m. local time, his younger brother and current Cuban president Raúl Castro said on state television Friday night. The 90-year-old’s body will be cremated later on Saturday.
A nine-day period of official mourning has been declared on the island nation until Dec. 4, when Castro’s ashes will be laid to rest in the city of Santiago.
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After taking power in 1959, the controversial leader persecuted his political rivals and dissidents — executing and imprisoning many of them. Thousands of Cubans left the island in the years after Castro rose to power with many of them settling in the United States — especially Miami.
“This is Maimi’s Berlin Wall-moment,” Enrique Pollack told The Miami Herald. “This is the end of a dictatorship of a murderer who has killed so many people. The Cuban Stalin is dead. And we’re going to shut down this city. Miami is going to be celebrating like the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
“Remember this date — it will go down in history,” he added.
President Barack Obama reflected the conflicting feelings of many in his message on Saturday.
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said in a statement. “We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
“Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people,” he continued. “In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Many American politicians — including Vice President-elect Mike Pence and former Florida governor Jeb Bush — celebrated Castro’s death in statements on Twitter, calling the controversial leader a tyrant.