HAVANA — Cuban President Fidel Castro today said he will not go to Moscow for the funeral of Konstantin U. Chernenko, a move that surprised Western diplomats.
There was no official reason given for the decision, which came less than a year after Castro failed to show up at a Moscow summit of the Soviet Bloc trading alliance Comecon.
Western diplomats said they were puzzled by the move, given the close relations between the two nations and particularly since Castro attended the funerals of both Leonid I. Brezhnev and Yuri V. Andropov, Chernenko's predecessors.
"Castro has now missed two important occasions in Moscow in under a year. It is rather puzzling though there is no real evidence of a squabble between the two countries," one European diplomat said.
Cuba will be represented at the funeral by Castro's younger brother Raul, the defense minister.