Mr. Harald Edelstam, Sweden's former ambassador to Chile, arrived on a goodwill visit to Cuba?
Mr. Harald Edelstam, Sweden's former ambassador to Chile, arrived on a goodwill visit to Cuba on 31 December. He had been invited as a guest of the Cuban Government to attend celebrations of the fifteenth anniversary of the Revolution.
Mr. Edelstam was declared persona non grata by the Chilean junta and left Chile on 9 December. He had consistently harboured -- in Sweden's Santiago Embassy -- Chilean nationals and others seeking asylum from Chile's new Government in the wake of the coup which seized power last September.
The Swedish Government was representing Cuban interests in Chile during the coup's aftermath. When he left Chile he was accompanied by about 20 Chilean and other political refugees. He had worked until the last moment to secure their safe conduct from the country.
As a result, Mr. Edelstam is regarded as something of folk hero in Cuba and his arrival at Cuba's Jose Marti International Airport was marked by hundreds of cheering Cubans. Some of them were those he had helped leave Chile.
During his stay Mr. Edelstam was received by Dr. Raul Roa, Minister of Foreign Relations. After a long and cordial meeting Dr. Roa praised Mr. Edelstam as a person of great humanitarian feelings.
Mr. Edelstam toured Cuba, visiting many places of interest, including the farmhouse from which the famous storming of the Moncada Barracks was launched on 26th July, 1953.