HAVANA – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived on Friday in Cuba to formally deliver a donation for those affected by Hurricane Irma, which left 10 people dead and caused severe economic damage to the island.
Maduro traveled with Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores and was greeted at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana by Cuban President Raul Castro and First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, a brief note on the front page of the state daily Granma reported.
Irma slammed across 13 of Cuba’s 15 provinces between Sept. 8-10, causing deaths, floods in Havana, destruction on the tourist archipelago of Cayerias del Norte, and left more than 60,000 homes partially damaged or totally destroyed, according to preliminary estimates.
Venezuela was the first country to send aid to Cuba after the hurricane passed.
The South American country’s donation was shipped to the island in two cargoes of 10 and 600 tons respectively of construction materials, doors, windows, sinks, mattresses and other practical goods.
Venezuela is Cuba’s leading political and economic ally in Latin America.
The Caribbean nation receives Venezuelan petroleum at subsidized prices in exchange for sending professionals to the oil-producing country, mainly doctors and teachers.
Maduro has often traveled to the island, most recently last August, when he came to pay tribute to Cuba’s late former president, Fidel Castro, on what would have been his 91st birthday.