Fact check: Photo does not show Jill Biden with Fidel Castro

Posts on social media claim to show a photo of Jill Biden standing beside Fidel Castro on a visit to Cuba during the Obama administration. This is false. The image shows Castro with late Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his wife Jacqueline Beer.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Most iterations of the claim ( here , here ) include the photograph with a text in Spanish that reads: "Joe Biden did not expect this photo to exist, nothing is hidden under the sun: his wife Jill Biden had a meeting with Fidel Castro in Cuba under the Obama administration!!!"

The photograph of the claim is visible here and here . It was posted on 2016 by the Kon-Tiki Museum, a museum in Oslo dedicated to the life and legacy of Thor Heyerdahl, who is famous for his 1947 “Kon-Tiki” expedition across the Pacific Ocean ( here ).

Martin Biehl, director of The Kon-Tiki Museum, confirmed to Reuters that the image portrays Jacqueline Beer, Fidel Castro and Thor Heyerdahl in Cuba.

Biehl said the couple visited Castro multiple times. “They were good friends and the museum has several pictures from several occasions and visits”, he said on a Facebook message, adding that he and Thor Heyerdahl Jr. (Heyerdahl’s son, here ) “had a good laugh the other day, when the story started to spread.”

Jacqueline Beer, 87, is a French actress ( ). She and late Thor Heyerdahl got married in 1991 and were actively involved with archaeological projects until Heyerdahl’s death on April 18, 2002 ( here ). Other images of the couple are visible here .

Cuban journalist Pedro de la Hoz reported here , that Heyerdahl visited Cuba for the last time on February, 2002. Reuters was unable to trace the specific date of the photograph.


In the final months of the Obama administration, Jill Biden travelled to Cuba from October 6 through October 9, 2016. According to a White House statement ( here ), Dr. Biden was scheduled to meet with “government officials and engage with a diverse range of Cubans on topics related to culture, education, and health.”

Footage of her visit is visible here and here .

Reuters found no news reports or footage publicly available to support the claim that Jill Biden met with Fidel Castro during her visit. At the time, Castro had been retired from presidency for more than eight years ( here ).

Castro did not meet with Barack Obama when then U.S. president visited Cuba earlier in 2016, and he accused Obama of sweet-talking the Cuban people during his visit ( here , here ).


False. Photo shows Fidel Castro with Jacqueline Beer Heyerdahl and Thor Heyerdahl.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .