Thursday, September 28

The death of a general who managed the military business complex hits Cuba

  • General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja managed the economic and financial complex in the hands of the Armed Forces

A silent earthquake shakes Cuba at this time. Has died General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja. For many ordinary citizens, the news may not mean much, especially in times of blackouts and shortages. But López Calleja was a determining figure on the island. Nothing less than the commanding voice of the financial and economic complex that, through its companies and tentacles, manage the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR). Granma, the official organ of the Communist Party, reported the death with a brief obituary. “It is with deep regret that we inform our people that in the early hours of the morning of this Friday, July 1, as a result of a cardiorespiratory arrest, Division General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, executive president of the Business Administration Group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces”. The same bare information was replicated by all means, without a single comma being changed. The ascetic language is not compatible with the importance of the deceased and the effects that his death may have on the management of the core affairs of Cuba when the crisis worsens, riding on inflation, over 70%, and the devaluation of the coin.

Lopez-Calleja was son-in-law of Raul Castro. His son Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro, known as “El Cangrejo” or “Raulito”, has served as one of his grandfather’s escorts before he handed over command to Miguel Díaz-Canel. Currently he is part of the National Assembly of People’s Power, as the legislature is known.

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López-Calleja studied at the Soviet Union. Back on the island, he first took on tasks at the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MINCEX). He was also linked to Military Counterintelligence. But it was his role in the Grupo de Administración Empresarial, SA (Gaesa), the profuse conglomerate managed by the military, that ended up defining his political weight and took him to the central committee of the Communist Party. Gaesa handle tourismthe island’s main source of income, among other economic activities such as the Mariel Integral Development Zone.

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When Díaz-Canel assumed the main executive and partisan activities, the late general began to gain greater visibility, to the point that the United States Government made him the object of sanctions.

His death not only creates an unexpected void. Analysts wondered to what extent conditions are created for a new design of the power structure both in Gaesa and beyond its sphere of influence. “A revolutionary has left us, a man who served the Homeland and the Revolution in all its trenches,” the current president dismissed him for the time being.

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