General head of GAESA dies in Cuba


Army Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja was given a seat at the National Assembly on Oct. 23, 2021.

Army Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja was specified a seat at the National Assembly on Oct. 23, 2021.


Cuba’s most potent standard, Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, who controlled most of the island’s financial state and was set to come to be a essential participant in a future political changeover, died instantly Friday early morning, the Communist Celebration newspaper Granma stated.

Rodríguez López-Calleja, 62, died of cardiorespiratory arrest early Friday, Granma claimed in a two-paragraph report.

The standard was the head of a enterprise within the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces recognized as GAESA, which controls considerably of Cuba’s tourism, authentic estate improvement, supermarkets, gasoline stations and many other profitable organizations.

Rodríguez López-Calleja amassed enormous ability as a previous son-in-law of Raúl Castro and was observed by lots of as a person of the critical figures in the long term of the island right after Castro, who is 91, dies.

“General Luis Alberto, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Celebration and deputy to the Countrywide Assembly of People’s Energy, has a outstanding report of providers to the Homeland and the Cuban Revolution,” Granma mentioned.

Rodríguez López-Calleja was sanctioned in 2020 by the U.S. federal government for jogging GAESA.

“This is the critical guy in the regime’s economic negotiations, he is the dependable male of the Castro relatives, he is the gentleman who is aware in which all the methods are, and his loss of life is an earthquake for the regime,” reported Orlando Gutiérrez, a human rights advocate who heads a coalition of exile businesses regarded as the Assembly of the Resistance.

Cuba’s moneyman

Rodríguez López-Calleja was born in Villa Clara, in central Cuba, on Jan. 19, 1960. According to his official biography, he was educated in the previous Soviet Union and worked as a counterintelligence officer in Angola in 1990.

But he was afterwards tapped to function for what would come to be Grupo de Administración Empresarial de las Fuerzas Armadas, or GAESA, the biggest and most financially rewarding company conglomerate on the island, which controls substantial sectors of the island’s tourism, finance, worldwide trade, transport and building.

He grew to become its director in 1996 and was its president at the time of his demise.

Everyday Cubans and activists blamed the normal for several controversial financial strategies, like continuing a resort building frenzy through the harsh yrs of the COVID-19 pandemic, which stripped the governing administration of income desperately needed for general public health and fitness and foodstuff, a conclusion that carried lethal consequences when the health and fitness technique pretty much collapsed.

He was also blamed for not ceding manage about the handling of remittances from the United States when the U.S. authorities sanctioned GAESA’s economical arm, Fincimex. U.S. officers then proposed the Cuban federal government switch the remittance company to a general public financial institution, but Cuban authorities refused.

The basic was also joined to a network of offshore companies that moved the government’s money close to the earth to conduct organizations and skirt the U.S. economic embargo. His brother, Guillermo Faustino Rodríguez López-Calleja, is the director or proprietor of numerous of those people enterprises, an investigation by McClatchy and the Miami Herald showed.

For many yrs, the normal was a shadowy determine, quietly expanding his management above the island’s financial system. He reportedly married and divorced just one of Raúl Castro’s daughters, Deborah Castro Espín, with whom he experienced two youngsters.

Regardless of the divorce, he carried incredible affect in the Cuban government. In new several years he had been generating more general public appearances and was named to high-profile political posts.

The general’s endeavor to consolidate power turned much more important past year as Raúl Castro approached his 90th birthday.

In April 2021, Rodríguez López-Calleja was offered a seat on the Communist Party Politburo. In September, he was discovered in point out media as a “special adviser to the president,” Miguel Díaz-Canel. And with out significantly clarification, he was produced a member of the Countrywide Assembly in late October, representing Remedios, a city in the central province of Santa Clara.

His dying leaves even much more uncertainty about a electric power changeover when the youthful of the Castro brothers dies, as the place proceeds to offer with the aftermath of substantial protests through the island on July 11, 2021.

“Cuba’s governance is mostly a relatives affair, and Rodríguez López-Calleja’s sudden demise opens the door to men and women jockeying in just the regime to just take more than his effective portfolio,” said Eric Farnsworth, the vice president of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. “That, coupled with the forthcoming anniversary of the July 11 protests, signifies Cuba might be heading towards a time period of greater uncertainty and improved repression.”

Quite a few generals and significant-position officials have died in the previous 12 months, quite a few thanks to the COVID pandemic that ravaged the island. The deaths have prompted speculation, Gutiérrez claimed, generally because of the “hermetic” quality of socialist units.

Rodríguez López-Calleja’s death “weakens” the routine, he claimed. “Whatever moves are declared in the next times will tell a lot about the regime’s interior struggles.”

His demise also gets rid of 1 of the attainable challengers to Díaz-Canel, Cuba’s handpicked president.

A several hours just after Granma broke the news, Díaz-Canel sent condolences and lamented the general’s loss of life on Twitter.

“A innovative has still left us, a gentleman who served the homeland and the Revolution,” he explained.

This story was at first revealed July 1, 2022 10:45 AM.

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Nora Gámez Torres is the Cuba/U.S.-Latin American plan reporter for el Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald. She examined journalism and media and communications in Havana and London. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Town, College of London. Her operate has received awards by the Florida Culture of Information Editors and the Culture for Specialist Journalists.//Nora Gámez Torres estudió periodismo y comunicación en La Habana y Londres. Tiene un doctorado en sociología y desde el 2014 cubre temas cubanos para el Nuevo Herald y el Miami Herald. También reporta sobre la política de Estados Unidos hacia América Latina. Su trabajo ha sido reconocido con premios de Florida Culture of Information Editors y Society for Profesional Journalists.


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