Cuban Diplomats and Opponents in Front of the Castro House Museum in Galicia

Plaque installed on the door of the house before it was a museum. (Láncara House)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 27 July 2022 — The birthplace of Ángel Castro Argiz, father of Fidel and Raúl Castro, will be inaugurated this Thursday in Láncara, in the Spanish province of Lugo, as an interpretation center for Galician migration. The museum, which will be officially called Casa Láncara, has delayed its opening for two years, due to the pandemic.

Marcelino Medina González, Cuban ambassador to Spain, will be received at the town hall before attending the event, convened just 30 years after Fidel Castro’s visit to Láncara to see the humble home where his father was born. Other descendants of Castro Argiz will be at the event, in addition to the Cuban consul in Galicia, Yahima Martínez Millán, according to the Spanish radio station Cope.

This Wednesday, Marcelino Medina González was received at the headquarters of the Confederation of Employers of Lugo, whose general secretary, Jaime López, spoke to the radio station about the “internationalization” strategy of the employers’ organization and how important it is to have a good relationship with the Island for the commercial expansion of their companies.

The Casa Láncara project arose from the transfer of the house by the family to the Asociación Amistad y Solidaridad Láncara-Cuba in 2018. The signing was apparently complex, because the heirs wanted to disassociate the project from the authorities to avoid eventual changes of government from posing problems.

The only condition, apparently, was that the original house be replicated. In November 2018, the Castros gave their approval to the project, by the architect from Sarria (neighboring town) José Ángel López, who in turn presented it to the Association and Mariela Castro during a trip to Cuba.

On the part of Spain, the City Council of Láncara, the Provincial Council of Lugo, the Confederation of Entrepreneurs and the Urbas construction group have participated, while from Cuba the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (Icap) and the Office of the Historian of the Havana city.

The museum revolves around four axes: Galician emigration to America; Ángel Castro Argiz; the visits of the Castro Ruz family to Láncara; and their role in the history of Cuba. Inside there are three rooms: the entrance, which was formerly the kitchen-dining room, with characteristic furniture from the early 20th century; the alpendre (shed), where an audiovisual room has been installed; and the old stables, which serve as an exhibition area, including Cuban objects related to immigration and photographs.

In 2020, when the inauguration was suspended, the video and photographs of the exhibition area had already been made and it was expected that personal objects from the Castro family home in Birán would arrive from the Island, as well as five palm trees that were going to be planted in the exterior and that must be adapted to the climate of the Galician interior.

The house was not, at the time, the object of great interest to Fidel Castro who, after visiting it in July 1992, together with the then president of the Galician government, Manuel Fraga, said he had found that it was one of the poorest in the area. The former Cuban president was then named Láncara’s adoptive son and showed his pride in the fact that the house was not “a palace, but a very humble shack.”

Years later, in 2005, his brother Raúl also visited it.

The father of the Castros emigrated to Cuba, then a land of opportunity, shortly after returning to Spain after having served as a soldier in the Spanish troops during the War of Independence in 1895. At that time, he had to barely survive cutting cane, but he ended up owning a farm in Birán and becoming a rich landowner thanks to sugar.

The house is preceded by a plaque that reads: “In this house in 1875 Ángel Castro Argiz was born, a Galician who emigrated to Cuba, where he planted trees that still flourish.”

Two Cuban activists, Enriquez Nodarse and Avana de la Torre, arrived at its doors on July 19, announcing an “anti-communist” tour through Galicia. Both were photographed at the entrance of the Casa Láncara with the Cuban flag and a poster with the faces of the Cuban political prisoners.

This Tuesday, the Cubans approached the monument to José Martí installed in the Eugenio Granell park, on the outskirts of the Galician capital, Santiago de Compostela. De La Torre was recording a video to demand the freedom of political prisoners when the Cuban consul Yahima Martínez Millán appeared and tried to prevent the filming by covering the phone camera, at which point a dispute began when the activist accused the diplomat of assaulting her and warned she would call the police.


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