The 81-year-old widow of East German leader Erich Honecker has led a reclusive life since she and her husband fled Germany for the Soviet Union and then Chile to avoid the collapse of the communist system. He died there in 1994 from liver cancer.
Honecker was tempted from her home on Saturday to attend the 29th anniversary of the Sandanista revolution in Nicaragua, with Daniel Ortega, the former revolutionary leader and now elected president.
His wife Rosario Murillo presented Honecker with a medal for her support in fighting illiteracy in the country. The stern former East German education minister smiled as she received the medal and gave a fist salute, but did not make a speech.
The celebrations in Managua were a meeting of socialist leaders past and present, with veterans Ortega and Honecker mingling with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Paraguay leader Fernando Lugo.