HAVANA TIMES, February 10.— President Michelle Bachelet arrives in Cuba on Tuesday, the first Chilean leader to do so since the historic visits of Salvador Allende in 1971 and 1972. Bachelet, 57, heads a sizeable delegation of government officials including the ministers of culture, labor and agriculture, legislators and business people.
Bachelet is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and has reportedly requested a meeting with Cuban leader Fidel Castro if his health allows. She will attend the opening of the 18th Cuba International Book Fair on Thursday. Chile is the guest country of the Fair and dozens of its publishing houses are participating in the popular annual event.
After Allende was toppled by the US-backed coup on September 11, 1973, Cuba accepted large numbers of Chilean refugees escaping the persecution and death under the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990). Bachelet, who was jailed under Pinochet, became Chile’s first female president in January 2006.
For more on the Cuba 2009 International Book Fair see: Cuba’s Awesome Book Fair