Full Google Earth 3D Map of Cuban Embassy in the south Embassy Distict, Chaoyang, Beijing.
Photos at the gate of the Cuban Embassy in Beijing in August 2010 when China and Cuba had intensified ties and Fidel Castro had already officially retired as sitting head of State. Left: Photo of the infamous Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a Man with extraordinary charm, and to say the least extraordinary deeds and ideas. Right: Fidels Brother Raoul, an early revolutionary who had lived with his larger then life brother through the battles of the Revolutionary struggle to become a main pillar of the regime throughout its lenghty days under leadership of Fidel Castro. Since, Raoul has been hailed as the new leader.
Mao Zedong met Che Guevara in Beijing in November of 1960 AD but the two did not quite hit it off. Five years later when Che returned and the so called Sino-Soviet split was ever widening, Mao would not see him according to various historic witnesses present or near mostly out of spite for the Cubans refusing to choose relations with Mao and China over those with the USSR.
History of the Cuban Embassy in Beijing :
Cuban Embassy in Beijing, how to Get There :
Strictly speaking, the Cuban Embassy is located on the east side of the middle third section of Jianhua Road. Use a the available schematic- and google maps to navigate to this address.
For anyone only slightly familiar with the Chaoyang District, the location is situated just 1 block up from (north of) the wide Boulevard of JianguoMen Outer Street (Jianguomen Wai Dajie) and 1 block to the south of Altar of the Sun Park (Ritan Gongyuan) south gate. Due to the fact that there are no subway exits within the south embassy district, the nearest subway stations available are all found along Jianguomen Outer Road. Only a few roads connect between Janguomen Outer Street in the south and the Ritan Park a little further to the north. Find the easiest route to navigate making use of the available maps.
The Cuban Embassy compound in Beijing is relatively small and covers roughly 1 quarter of a city block, a block which it shares with the Embassy of Singapore, which stands to the North, and the Embassy of the Republic of Mongolia which stands to the north-west. Immediately across Xiushui North Street stands the Embassy of Austria which shares the block to the south of the Cuban Embassy with the Embassy of Etheopia, the Embassy of Qatar and the Embassy of Azerbaidjan.
As mentioned, the Cuban Embassy is one of fairly many embassy compounds in the so called South Embassy section of the Chaoyang District, which due to its relatively small size and inconspicuous exterior partially hidden underneath trees that line the roads in this area, does not stand out from its surroundings. The Best way to find it is either to find the Altar of the Sun Park (Ritan Gongyuan), locate the south gate and walk straight down from there. The second method to easily navigate and find the Embassy without delays is to focus on Jianguomen Outer Street. Find the Silk Alley (Xiu Shui) Commercial Building which stands on the corner of Jianguomen Outer Street running West to East, and Dongdaqiao Road. From the Silk Alley commercial building
walk westward in the direction of the City Center and the Ancient Observatory (Gu Guan Xiang Tai) at Jianguomen. Essentially all one has to do then is follow the road past the Gate and Entrance Road of Qijiayuan Diplomatic Residence compound, which might be mistaken for the next road (it is not) to the next inter-section where Jianhua Road leads nothward up to the south gate of Altar of the Sun Park where it terminates.
As described, the Cuban Embassy is just up Jianhua Road past the Austrian Embassy. Look for the
Gate of the Qijiayuan Diplomatic Residence compound on the North Side of Jianguomen outer street (Jianguomen Wai Dajie) in August of 2010.
Cuban Flag, the official sign and the obligatory Fidel Castro photos on the exterior wall. You can take some photos but loitering is not appreciated.
Due to the longstanding internal frictions of the communist camp during the cold war era and the concurring absence of an official State Visit of the great leader of the Cuban Revolution of Cuba to the great Capital of the Chinese Revolution during the Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping Eras, the Cuban Embassy never became an focal point for the international media as did the Russian and U.S. Embassies. That is, the highest diplomatic honors eluded it for a very long time until finally, in 1995, a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro made an official visit to the newly developing China under 'President' Jiang Zhemin.
Thus, the historic tales to be told about the current Cuban Embassy in Beijing, are alll of a slightly less spectacular and less grandiose nature. That is, except for the roles that it played in the 1960 AD and 1965 AD visits to Beijing by the Cuban number two of that time, the by now world famous and dead Che Guevara, the first of the great Cuban Revolutionary leaders to be officially received by the Chinese Communists of the time.
Except for official occassions and according publications, no one, except for a priviliged few, really knows what went on inside the Cuban Embassy in Beijing during the last 60 years. There are however quite a few remarkable tales about Chinese-Cuban relations in the past few decades.
Although there officially has been a longstanding friendship between the two socialist nations finding common ground in the “unfair international economic order” and Colonialist attitudes in the West, the personal relations between the two Communist Leaders of these nations have been strained and turbulent at times.
Due the fact that the Cuban Revolution was only succesful in overthrowing the local Batista Government establishing itself on January 1st of the year 1959, current Cuban-Chinese relations only began as early as 1960, when the first form of the Revolutionary Government in Cuba was being shaped and diplomatic relations with various nations across the globe were being established.
As a seemingly much more promising substitute for the previous President Batista, who in the early years of his revolution had been a supporter of the Communist Party of China but alike the Chinese own Chiang-Kai Chek had turned upon the comunists with a vengeance while forming alliance with the hated U.S. Imperialists, the new Government led by Fidel Castro and Revolutionary and socialist Che Guevara promised to be a much more attractive partner for China from the very beginning. In return, for the Cubans, China was clearly seen as the second home and mother nation of the worldwide socialist revolution, and thus promised to be a large and attractive ally in the global cause on the stage of world politics. And so it was by and large.
Although Che was extremely friendly and advised Mao Zedong's methods might be introduced in Cuba, these were all just verbal overtures. Although politically Che Guevara was indeed closer to Mao Zedong's extreme line (the so called Maoism) than to the Soviet Union's position on the Cold War, essentially, as a young poverty stricken revolutionary stricken nation, Cuba was only looking for trade with China in order to further its own position. Strictly economically speaking, since China was desperatly poor and Cuba could offer no military technology, chances at a significant diplomatic and trade deal were very low as would be proven not much there after. In this sense, Mao over-estimated his own economical importance and in February of 1966 AD, Cuba instead entered into another agreement with the Soviet Union for a 12 percent increase in trade and for credits to cover Cuba's deficit spending. This solidly tied Cuba to the Soviet Union and left Mao Zedong and China entirely out of the Game. Although relations between China and Cuba briefly warmed, nothing came of the plan to estrange Cuba from its Russian masters. Hence, when Che Guevara revisited the Chinese Capital on an official second visit, Mao was not in the mood to see him and conveniently left the repsonsiblity of an official warm reception to his Premier and stooge Zhou Enlai.
Che died a violent death in 1967 and thus never returned to Beijing.
The Cuban Embassy is otherwise only known as the perveyor of Cuban sigars sent by Cuban Leader Fidel Castro, with whom Mao had a troubled relation. Regardless of the Cuban sigars delivered in handcarved wooden boxes, and the exteriorly pretended close brotherhood between Communist Nations, Fidel Castro called Mao Zedong 'A Bastard' on at least one occassion.
In januari of 1966 AD, in the run up to the great upheaval of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Fidel publicly accused China (Mao) of having attempted to economically pressure Cuba into compliance with China's wish to move away from the position of the Soviet Union. Only a month later Fidel accused the Chinese of trying to subvert the Cuban Military and of taking excessive economic reprisals. In China it was not takent as a friendly gesture but rather as a deliberate face threatening act, an attempt to pul down the international stature of the Peoples Republic. Tom Mao Zedong and likely others in the Chinese Government by then, this was a deep insult and open defiance, something Mao simply could not stand. Mao Zedong called Fidel Castro a 'Jackall and a Wolf' in retaliation.
In the next decades, mutual hostility kept reappearing in interantional communications. In 1977, during a still famous interview with TV journalist Barbara Walters, Fidel Castro let know that he felt that Mao Zedong, who had died not even a year earlier, had made various gross errors, which has caused the Chinese Nation considerable damage. Among things Castro condemned how Mao Zedong created a personality cult around himself, letting know that Mao's ego had gotten in the way of the development of China as a nation. At the time it was an unheard of critique and although Chinese citizens had already shown their agreement with such statements through their own little spring revolution in 1976, within official channels in China it was again explained as a flagrant insult.
Address o/t Cuban Embassy in Beijing :
No. 1 Xiu Shui Nan Jie,
Jian Guo Men Wai,
Chaoyang District, Beijing
The Cuban Embassy in Beijing has Consular Jurisdiction for all areas in China except for Hong Kong, Macao and consular areas of Cuba in Shanghai.
The overall function of the Cuban Embassy in Beijing is to represent Cuba's interests in China. At current that mainly means the promotion of business between the two countries, by encouraging investment in Cuba by the Chinese and promoting Cuban products in China. Given that Cuba's economy is heavily dependent on tourism and the Chinese citizens are increasingly affluent, encouraging Chinese tourism to the Cuban holiday island has lately become increasingly important.
Apart from this main function the embassy also provides assistance to Cuban citizens who find themselves in need of help within the Peoples Republic of China. This can range from lost passports, illness and hospital stays to legal problems and detention cases.
Chinese people who wish to visit Cuba need to contact the embassy in order to arrange visas.
China - Cuban Relations and the Embassy in Beijing :
As two of the last few remaining communist countries Cuba and China have a very close relationship. In fact, relations have become even closer since the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991. At the current time, Cuba needs the Peoples´ Republic of China as a trading partner because of the still active United States Embargo against it. China in turn has been actively courting third world countries like Cuba, while taking advantage of their best business markets.
As China becomes a major power it has been trying to extend their influence in the world. One followed strategy has been to engage third world countries in Africa and Latin America and increase their ties with China and its economy. So far China has been quite successful at this. Cuba is a close Chinese ally if for no other reason that the United States have left them with no other choice.
Since, the renewal of Sino-Cuban relations during the second half of the 1990s, one of Fidel Castros first moves was to clearly endorse the Chinese 1989 AD crackdown of what he called a Pro-Democracy Movement. Eversince, the large but mostly unmentioned Chinese-Cuban (ethnic) community in Cuba has played a large role in reviving the Cuban economy in several ways. Among the latest successes, growing Chinese international tourism to Cuba and Havana, the tropical paradise.
Cuba has been a “staunch supporter” of the PRC's interpretation of “One China” and has used its influence to convince several smaller Central American and Caribbean countries to switch their recognition from Taiwan to China. More recently, Cuba strongly supported China in the face of International protest against its hosting of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
In the year after the 2008 Olympics and enduring Chinese economic prosperity, Fidel Castro published an article entitled “The Chinese Victory,” which was highlighted in the Cuban media and hailed by the Chinese Government and state controlled media as well. The article praises Chinese economic achievements while retaining totalitarian control. In another article, Castro and Cuba has also loudly condemned Tibetan exiles and their Western supporters as being plotters against Chinese sovreignty, a view that China loves to endorse but is to say the least, simplified and flawed.
For years ailing, but in remarkable health after an illness and a near death encounter, Cuban leader Fidel Castro died in the fall of 2016 and thus is no longer active in the field of international politics. The leadership now rests with his comrade in arms and brother Raoul Castro. Fidel Castro, who can righteously be compared to have been the Cuban version of Mao Zedong, leaves a considerable political and personal legacy which will endure in Cuba and in nations around the world, having become a part of major historic events in the 20th century.
History of Chinese-Cuban Relations :
Although Cuba was the first South American Nation to recognize the Peoples Republic of China in 1960, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro never visited China. For long, the highest ranking Cuban official to meet with Chinese Government Leaders was Che Guevara, who visited Beijing in 1960 and again in 1965.
During the first half of the 1960s, when the Sino-Cuban relations were at the peak, Fidel Castro is said to have frequented the Chinese Embassy in Havana very often. As for Castro, he was an extravagant man and similar to the situation with Mao, others had to adapt to his modes of operation. Among these peculiarities was the matter of Fidel Castro having taken a liking to Chinese Food.
When Castro visited the Chinese Embassy, he did not just make an appointment for discussion. No, instead he would drop in for dinner.
As Chinese sources have since foreclosed, most of these Embassy 'visits' were unannounced to the public, as well as most of the time the Chinese diplomats themselves. Having hosted Fidel for dinner several times at the Embassy, and having taken notice of Fidel's liking for Chinese Cookery, not much later Chairman Mao, of course after playing for an official request, saw to it that the Chinese government dispatched two cooks to Havana to serve Fidel Castro personally. Naturally, the hope was that the cooks would also be able to infiltrate Fidel's personal sphere and perhaps find out more what was going on in the highest office in Cuba. The Cooks never were merely Chefs, but they were equipped with other skills as well (No details have been disclosed of their experiences with Fidel in Havana, so far).
Officially, one of the Chefs came from the renowned Beijing Quanjude Duck Restaurant and the other from the Beijing’s Heilongjiang Restaurant.
These Embassy dinner visits, which often lasted for hours or even into early next morning, however, were not merely friendly fraternizing, instead the lenghty hours spend at the dinner table and in the post-dinner chats were often dominated by political conversations and attempted planning.
One of the most significant dinner visits came on October 18th, 1964, when Castro appeared in the Chinese Havana embassy in the late afternoon, as usual unannounced.
Seemingly completely alone, Fidel simply walked through the front door and settled himself in the guest chamber without paying much attention to the frantic activity of the receptionist who suddenly had to alert the ambassador, who by the way was eager and ready to go home.
In his usual charming and opulent way, Castro was all smile and -as in passing- informed Ambassador Wang Youping, that it was Sunday and he would like to have Chinese food as dinner. During the ensuing hours Castro revealed his true intentions. Nikita Khrushchev had stepped down only three days before and now Cuba, Castro that is, wanted to mediate between Beijing and Moscow by exploiting this development.
Fidel Castro and his personal revolution had been caught between the two communist big brothers for some time. As the Chinese have described it somewhat optimistically, Fidel had his “stomach” (material needs) in Moscow but “heart” (ideological affinity) in Beijing. Seeing chance to wedge himself free from the repetitive collisions of his political allies, Castro had made some efforts to bring China and the USSR together. Now he saw a great opportunity for the winds to change in his favor.
Perhaps worried about Moscow’s response, he never set foot in Beijing, regardless the messages of invitation sent to him over the dinner table at the embassy, but made pilgrimage to Kremlin twice in the first half of the 1960s. With Khrushchev’s disgrace, Castro thought it was the optimum moment for him to make another try, because he knew that the Chinese had blamed Khrushchev for the Soviet Union’s domestic revisionist and international reconciliatory policies.
After that Sunday-evening visit to the Chinese embassy, Castro launched a campaign. He convened a conference of Latin American communists, which resulted in a communique calling for unity among world communists and a joint delegation to Moscow and Beijing for the purpose. When that failed, he asked Che Guevara, the most pro-Chinese in his inner circle, together with two members of the Cuban party’s politburo who flew to Beijing from Havana, to suspend the latter’s visit in Africa and fly to Beijing in early February 1965 to persuade the Chinese.
This time around Castro apparently overestimated his influence and Mao wanted him to feel it. Still sour over the results of the Cuban visit of 1960, Mao (officially: the Chinese) showed no interest whatsoever in supporting Castro's initiative. At the meeting with the Latin American Communist delegation, Mao even chided the Cubans for their “fear” of “imperialism” and “atomic bomb” thus throwing themselves on Moscow. Pushed by the pressures from Moscow, the tension between Beijing and Havana escalated and openly erupted in early 1966. Among the issues that triggered the Sino-Cuban quarrel, food was the most critical and direct: Beijing (the Peoples´ Republic of China) reduced its rice exportation to Havana for 1966 and was thus accused by the latter of “joining America’s blockade against Cuba”. Tit for tat, China charged Cuba for partaking in the “anti-China chorus” directed by Moscow and Washington. It became a mud slinging party once again. After this exchange of words, Castro refused to visit the Chinese Embassy in Havana again. As the story goes, the Chinese cooks at the embassy no longer had to prepare half-cooked dishes and the Chinese diplomats in Havana were finally able to get to their homes and families at normal hours. More likely, Fidel had worries he might be poisened by the Chinese, or otherwise felt more comfortable at a distance. The mutual erratic behavior had finally broken the bond between the socialist brother nations. Relations would not return to normal for a very long time. It was not until well after Mao Zedong’s death that Chinese overtures to Cuba would be accepted.
Official photographs of Fidel Castro arriving at Beijing Capital Airport on November 29 of 1995.
A long-time Soviet ally and having had a severe falling out during the Cultural revolution and Sino-Soviet tensions in the second half of the 1960's, Fidel Castro's Cuba didn't establish diplomatic ties with China until 1993. However, after the the break-up of the former Soviet Union in 1991, China has become one of Cuba's top three trading partners. Castro has praised Chinese leaders for moving toward a free market economy while keeping the Communist Party's monopoly on power, a situation similar to his own. Although Castro would have liked to remain loyal to Communist Doctrine, he himself has had to rely on Foreign Currencies derived from international tourism to Cuba, to keep his regime stabile and in power.
After some preliminary visits by his brother Raoul, Fidel Castro finally reached Beijing in the year 1995 where he was greeted with a grandiose state welcome in Tiananmen Square and a meeting with Chinese leader Jiang Zemin not much after. It was Jiang who invited Castro to make the visit during Jiang's trip to Havana in 1995. During his Beijing stay Fidel Castro managed to plan in a visit to Mao Tse-tung's mausoleum and had talks with Jiang and other Chinese leaders.
During the visit economic issues were the center of focus.
After two days of meetings with Chinese government officials in Beijing, Castro continued on a short tour of China in order to glimpse the sweeping economic changes that have taken place within that Nation, with, as officially stated, 'a special interest in looking at the successes and weaknesses of reform'.
Castro's also visited Vietnam.
Hu Jintao visited Cuba on three occassions during his term in office. The first was in 1997. The other visits occured in 2004 and 2008 respectively. During the time of the third visit Chinese media coverage was cautiously optimistic in tone, emphasizing the the fact that Raul Castro has replaced Fidel as being the Cuban leadership in practice, which the Chinese Government hopes will bring Cuba more reform-oriented policies following the “Chinese lesson”
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Speaking the most general terms, the Cuban Embassy is one of fairly many Embassy compunds, all of which are sitauted along three shaded lanes in the especially dedicted block designated as the south Embassy District of Beijing. This is a notable little block of the city, which through it being the location of foreign embassies has become quite the historic neighborhood in itself. The south embassy district is not or has been the location of the Russian Embassy in Beijing, which has seen notorious historic protest, but several other noteable Embassies are situated in the same area. First and most controversial among these is the North Korean Embassy, a much larger than average compund, around which hangs a certain aura of suspense and intimidation even on its finest days.
With traditionally the Embassy of Japan and also the Embassy of South Korea (ROK) near, the south embassy district has nevertheless seen its moments in international political history. Among the most noted incidents of the recent decade have been sporadic anti-Japanese Protests at the Japanese Embassy or (when prevented) at nearby Ritan Park, the appearance of groups of anxious illegal North Korean refugees infiltrating the neighborhood and making desperate attempts to reach inside the south Korean Embassy, ultimately leading to a partial sealing off of the entire south embassy district. At times of political turmoil such measures may be taken again, however the heightened security situation in the block has long since been resolved and most security measures that have been taken are inconspicious and do not much interfere with the life of passersby on the street. At least as far as is known no political incident or significant protest has ever occurred at the address of the Cuban Embassy in Beijing. Which is not to say that significant stories are not attached to the goings on inside the Embassy in the last half century.
Although situated unconspicuously on a shady tree-lined road in a fairly quiet corner of the Chaoyang District and of a modest and average size, as the longstanding Embassy of a fellow Communist State and a political ally of the Cold War Era, the Cuban Embassy is not only the functional Embassy of one nation to another, it may also be considered a small historic attractions of these parts of the city, one of the gems of the so called south embassy district. Of all the Embassies in Beijing, only thosse of Russia, North Korea and the United States for more intriguing tales attached. Therefor, a brief stop over at the gates may be a good part of tour d hommage of the south embassy district.
Since, it is located not too far from the gates of one of the main historic and tourist landmarks of the Chaoyang District, the Ritan (Altar of the Sun) Park, it may one of the points to include in a walking itenerary of the wider area. Even if there is nothing spectacular to observe at the gate of the Embassy, the location of this embassy is to be considered a historic location with, especially for those with memories of decolonization and the cold war era, interesting stories attached.
llustrating and eager wish to join the global socialist revolution and export Cuba's revolution to fellow decolonizing nations on the part of the Cubans and an equal Chinese interest to see this National and seemingly socialist enclined revolution affirmed, already by November of the year 1960, a high Cuban delegation visited Beijing in order to establish a mutual baseline to work with. The by now almost forgotten but at the time quite historic diplomatic mission was headed by none other then Che Guevara, a man who at the time held an international reputation which could rival that of fellow and President Fidel himself. Thus it was an important diplomatic mission which clearly showed the political directions the new Government was now undertaking. Associating itself clearly with the socialist cause, a delegation now toured the most notorious Communist Governments on earth. China however, was not the first destination of choice so it appeared. Notably, affirming a certain pecking order among the socialist states, the mission first visited Pyongyang, the Capital of a loyal Soviet (Russian) Alley North Korea, then Beijing. After having visited Beijing the final relay would be to head to Moscow for meetings at the Kremlin. Although Che Guevara was heading the mission almost explicitely in order to suggest a special relationship opening with China, in reality it seems clear that already at this early stage, the first choice was for loyalty with the mother nation of the Revolution, which for Cubans was Soviet Russia and not, as Mao Zedong had gradually come to see it, the Peoples Republic of China. Hence, given the moods and inclinations of Mao Zedong, there was a potential for awkward conflicts, and on the international stage, there was a potential for a clash between two notoriously self righteous revolutionary leaders.
Hence, it was not Fidel Castro, the great man who showed up to the other great man of the revolution, but rather an official visit of the Foreign Minister and his team in the form of Che. On the Chinese side, Mao Zedong was eager to meet Che not Fidel exactly because of the fact that Che had publically expressed a thorough distaste of the Russians which they hoped would provide them with leverage within the new Government via Che. Hopefully, Che would like the Chinese better and then China might proceed to become the main political patron of the Cubans. It was worth a try when there was a chance.
Thus, according to instructions by Mao Zedong, the full Chinese Foreign Relations team met him with full regards. After an official arrival at Beijing Capital Airport, Che Guavera and the mission received further honors at the Palace of the Government, better known as the Great Hall of the Peoples at Tiananmen Square.
At the Time, Mao Zedong's goal -and with that the goal of Premier Zhou Enlai and others- during the visit was to charm the Cuban second and see if it was possible to use Che Guevaras more radical stance to pry Cuba away from Soviet influence. It was clearly Mao's ambition to lead the Communist World and the World Revolution instead of the more mighty Soviet Union, his very own patron. At the time the small Cuban Embassy buzzed with activity.