THE INNER CIRCLE OF POWER
Pedro Roig J.D. and Alvaro Alba M.A.
Reviewed by Jaime Suchlicki, Ph.D.
THE ELITE ARMY CORP GENERALS IN ACTIVE SERVICE
The appointment of Manuel Marrero, on December 21, as Prime Minister.
In the first row, from left to right, Raul Castro Ruz and his grandson Mayor Raul Guillermo Rodriguez Castro. In the second row, the Army Corps Generals, from left to right, Joaquin Quinta Solas, Ramon Espinosa, Alvaro Lopez Miera and Leopoldo Cintra Frias, and on the far right, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz.
Cintras Frias, Lopez Miera, Espinosa and Quinta Solas, belongs to the army generation forged in the African’s Campaigns. They integrated Raul Castro elite of Army Corp Generals.
THE CASTRO TOTALITARIAN LEGACY
THE DOMINANT MILITARY LEADERSHIP – THE INNER CIRCLE OF POWER
General of the Army
Raul Castro – 89 years old
An autocratic Marxist-Leninist. The armed Forces led by Raul Castro since 1959 is the essence of Cuba’s totalitarian state based on absolute loyalty and obedience.
Luis A. Rodriguez Lopez Callejas – 59 years old
Chief of GAESA, that control over 75% of the economy. He is the youngest and most powerful member of the political and military leadership. Graduate from the Antonio Maceo Military Academy. Former son-in-law of Raul Castro.
Julio C. Gandarilla Bermejo – 76 years old
Minister of the Interior (MININT). The MININT is a brutal repressive force. They control the intelligence and counterintelligence services, the Police and Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
Army Corp General
Alvaro Lopez Miera – 77 years old
Chief of General Staff and Special Forces “Tropas Especiales”. Veteran of the Africa campaigns, expert combat tactician. Graduated from Soviet Voroshilov Academy.
Army Corp General
Ramon Espinosa Martin – 81 years old
Deputy Minister of MINFAR. Chief of the Eastern Strategic Zone. Joined the Rebel Army in the Escambray Mountains. Veteran of the African campaigns. Graduated from the Soviet Voroshilov Academy.
Comandante de la Revolución
Ramiro Valdes – 88 years old
Veteran of the Moncada, the Granma and the Guerrilla fights in Oriente and Las Villas Founder of the State Security Service. He was trained by the East German, Stasis. He travels frequently to Venezuela.
Army Corp General
Leopoldo Cintra Frías – 79 years old
Minister of Defense (MINFAR). Chief of the Western Strategic zone, Veteran of the African campaigns. Expert in Armored warfare. Graduated from the Soviet Voroshilov Academy.
Army Corp General
Joaquín Quintas Sola – 82 years old
Chief of the Central Strategic Zone, in 1958 joined Raúl Castro in the Sierra Cristal. Veteran of the African campaigns. Travels to Venezuela. Graduated from the Soviet Voroshilov Academy.
Comandante de la Revolución
Jose R. Machado Ventura – 90 years old
Doctor of Medicine. A hardline Marxist-Leninist ideologue, Second Secretary of the Communist Party. Led the selection of Miguel Diaz Canel as President. He remains very close to Raul Castro.
THE DOMINANT MILITARY LEARDSHIP
FIDEL CASTRO MILITARY LEGACY
- Since 1959 Fidel Castro transformed Cuba as a nation at war.
- Under Castro’s premise, the Cubans were trained as soldiers.
- From the Sierra Maestra, Fidel Castro knew that his political power rested on the loyalty and control of the Army and a Repressive Security Force.
- Immediately after reaching Havana, Castro began the process of glorification of the rebel army and the revolutionary armed forces as the sacred-principal authority of the state.
- In 1965 Castro integrated the Communist Party as an obedient bureaucracy controlled by the military.
- Sixty years later the legacy of Fidel Castro is a totalitarian state.
MILITARY CONTROL OF A TOTALITARIAN STATE
- The MINFAR-MININT and GAESA are the Dominant Forces of the Cuban regime.
- They have a supra-constitutional control of government.
- Military power is not limited by any laws, not bound by any rules.
- They are integrated into a rigid, hierarchical order, based on absolute loyalty.
- They have evolved into a tightly-knit upper class, protecting their power and privileges. Their families enjoy a good quality of life.
- The MINFAR is composed of the Western, Central and Eastern armies, the elite “Tropas Especiales”, and Air Force and Navy.
- They Command the vital Strategic Regions of Cuba.
THE SUPERIOR POWER ISSUE
ARTICLE 102: The National Assembly of the people’s power is the superior organ of the power of the state.
ARTICLE 5: The Communist party of Cuba, “Unico”, Martiano, Fidelista and Marxist Leninist is the superior driving force of the society and the state.
THE DOMINANT MILITARY LEADERSHIP
Nine Members: General of the Army – Raul Castro, *Army Corp General – Leopoldo Cintra Frías, * Army Corp General – Alvaro Lopez Miera, * Army Corp General – Ramon Espinosa Martin, * Army Corp General – Joaquín Quintas Sola, *Vice Admiral – Julio C. Gandarilla Bermejo, *Brigade General – Luis A. Rodriguez Lopez Callejas, *Comandante de la Revolución – Ramiro Valdes, *Comandante del Ejército Rebelde – Jose R. Machado Ventura.
- The Minister of Interior is a prominent member of the inner circle of power.
- The MININT controls the Intelligence and Counterintelligence Services, the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), a combat ready unit (Brigada Especial Nacional / BEN), Immigration Offices, Coast Guard, Prison Services and Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
- The MININT objectives are to watch, incarcerate, torture and often murder political opposition activists and leaders.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY
- The Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) was organized by Fidel and Raul Castro to manage the government bureaucracy.
- The communist party bureaucrats are obedient to the dominant military leadership.
- Any deviation from their assigned duties is severely punished.
- Even Politburo and Central Committee members can be summarily dismissed by the military.
- According to the new Constitution:
- The President is the Chief of the State (Article 125).
- The Prime Minister is the Head of Government (Article 122).
GAESA “Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A.”
- The President of GAESA is Brigadier General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas. Former son-in-law of Raul Castro.
- GAESA manages every moneymaking operation in Cuba, including GAVIOTA and CIMEX enterprises.
- GAVIOTA operates the profitable tourist hotel chains with over 34K rooms throughout the island.
- GAVIOTA controls the tourist industry in partnership with several international hotel corporations, Spain’s Melia, Sheraton’s Starwood and the Swiss – based Kempinski.
- CIMEX operates around 2800 retail outlets, including the 1100 Panamericana Stores, Gas Stations, Fast Food Cafeterias, commercial offices, construction companies, Rent a Car and Taxi Services among dozens of profitable enterprises.
- GAESA employes several thousand retired military personnel.
- GAESA does not discloses financial records. This is a top-secret enterprise. Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, obviously Raul Castro and a few selected individuals, have access to GAESA financial data.
LEADING MILITARY COMMANDERS (MINFAR – MININT)
Division General Leonardo Andollo (77 years old)
Second Chief of The Cuban Army General Staff.
Andollo is the Coordinator of the Group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba in Venezuela (GRUCE). He frequently travels to Caracas where for years has become the Operational link with the Venezuelan military in the transshipments of drugs from Colombia and Bolivia.
Andollo works closely with Brigadier General Lopez-Callejas, in cover financial operations. He is a veteran of war in Africa. He attended the Voroshilov Military Academy (1974-1976) for training as military engineer, Andollo has a PhD and is considered a logistic expert. He is the executive chief of the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Improvement of the economic and social model.
Division General Onelio Aguilera (67 years old)
Chief of the Western Army
Division General Aguilera graduated from Antonio Maceo Inter-Arms School (1972) with honors. He is a general of the African war generation. He was 6 years old when Castro took power. Graduated from courses at the Malinovsky (1981 / Armored) and Voroshilov (1988 / General Staff) Academies of the USSR. He commands the most powerful western Army (that includes the Armored Division). General Aguilera travel s frecuantly to Venezuela.
Division General Rafael Hernández Delgado (71 years old)
Chief Oriental Army.
General of the African war generation He is in command of the Mechanized Division 50, near the City of Holguin and the Border Elite Brigade facing the US Guantanamo Naval Base. He fought in Angola (1976) and is an Artillery expert, He is a graduate of the Maximo Gomez Military Academy.
Division General – Raúl Cirilo Rodriguez Lobaina (71 years old)
Chief of the Central Army
General of the African War generation. His army includes a tank regiment at “La Paloma Base” in Matanzas. General Rodriguez Lobaina fought in Angola (1977-1979) He served in several high ranking commands including an armored Division. He is an expert tactical commander graduated from several military academies including the Maximo Gomez Military Academy.
Brigadier General Jesús Becerra Morciego (72 years old)
Chief of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR / MININT)
In 1961, during the Bay of Pig fight, he joined the Militia. That year he was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Department of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias (FAR) where he served for 28 years. He is a veteran of the African campaign (Angola). In 1989 he was transferred to the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) as Chief on Internal Control. Since 2010 he has been Chief of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR).
Brigadier General – Alcibíades Muñoz Gutiérrez (74 years old)
Head of the Intelligence Directorate (ID / MININT)
Alcibiades F. Muñoz Gutiérrez began working on the ID in the mid-1960s. In 1968 he was appointed as the third secretary at the Cuban embassy in Moscow.
Due to his long operational experience General Muñoz excels as intelligence Director of the MININT. Pragmatic and efficient in his task of recruiting agents of influence and spies in the U.S federal government, local medias and universities.
Brigadier General Alejandro Ronda Marrero.
Coordinator and Liaison Officer to the Group of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba in Venezuela (GRUCE).
Ronda is known as the “General de los Pinchos Duros” (Hard Skewers). He fought in the African Campaigns. He has an extensive experience in covert operations. He is violent and deadly in his covert assignments.
In 1973, during the military revolt in Chile, he was with Tony de la Guardia, by the side of President Salvador Allende. In 1982 Ronda was appointed Chief of the MININT Special Forces (now assigned to the FAR). In 2002 he became Chief of the Informatics Network.
General Ronda is now coordinator of Intelligence Service in Venezuela with close operational links to the Venezuelan Repressive Forces. He is actively present in the Miraflores and Fuerte Tiuna Situation Room.
Division General Ermio Hernández Rodríguez (77 years old)
Chief of Operation of the Group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba in Venezuela (GRUCE).
Veteran of the Ethiopia and Angola campaigns. He graduated from a Soviet Military Academy as a tank tactical expert. In 1977 Ermio Hernandez was deployed in Ethiopia. He joined the 10 Th tank brigade as chief of staff. In 1986 he was assigned as a senior officer of the armored Cuban forces that fought in the battle of Cuito –Cuanavale. During this time in Angola he got close to generals Cintras Frias, Espinosa and Quinta Solas
General Ermio Hernandez has been very active in Venezuela, as chief of operation of the Cuban forces operating from “Fuerte Tiuna”, his troops are trained to face situations of civil disorder. The Cuban forces had identified 11 cities of the country to suffocate any hostile uprising. General Hernández travels back and forth from Cuba to Venezuela in the fulfillment of this assignment.
ECONOMY / GAESA
Brigade General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López Callejas (59 years old)
President Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A. (GAESA).
Lopez-Callejas is the Tzar of the Cuban economy. Son of Division General Guillermo Rodríguez del Pozo, and father of Mayor Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro (grandson of Raúl Castro Ruz and head of his bodyguards). He was married to Raul Castro’s daughter.
López-Callejas leads GAESA, a gigantic conglomerate of state and mixed enterprises that manages over 75% of the legal and illegal financial deals of the Cuban Government, including a distribution partnership with the Colombian and Venezuelan drug cartels. The youngest member of the military leadership, Lopez-Callejas does not belong to the PCC Politburo. As head of GAESA, he is one of the most powerful leaders in Cuba.
Manuel Marrero Cruz (57 years old)
Prime Minister. Head of The Cuban Government (Article 122)
Marrero is an architectural engineer. He began working in 1990 in the newly create GAVIOTA S.A. In 1999 he became the corporation Vice President and two years later he was promoted to director of GAVIOTA. In 2004 Marrero was appointed Minister of Tourism, for the next 16 years he developed a trusted relationship with GAESA’s leaders. In 21 December 2019 Marrero was appointed Prime Minister of the Cuban Government. He remains close to Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas.
Division General Luis Pérez Rospide (77 years old)
President Grupo de Turismo Gaviota S.A.
A veteran of Africa’s campaigns, he graduated as Military Mechanical Engineering, specializing in Armored Technique from Soviet Military School. In 1988 he was appointed as Director of the Union of the Military Industry. Key player on the concept of “perfeccionamiento empresarial del MINFAR” a modernizing model for the armed forces and tourist companies owned by GAESA. At the beginning of the nineties he started to manage Gaviota, one of the most important and profitable of the military enterprises. General Perez Rospide is among the most trusted members of the GAESA establishment.
Colonel Héctor Oroza Busutil
Director Corporation CIMEX S.A.
In 2010, Coronel Oroza was appointed director of CIMEX. As part of GAESA, CIMEX is one of the largest commercial enterprises in Cuba.
Colonel Marino Alberto Murillo Jorge (61 years old)
Chief Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Improvement of the economic and social model.
Marino Murillo was a prominent member of the Union of Young Communists. He graduated from the National Defense College. From 2009-2011, was Minister of Economic and Planning. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of the Economic Policy Commission. He has recently been visiting Asian Countries.
Juan Carlos García Granda (57 years old)
Minister of Tourism.
An efficient and low-profile bureaucrat, from the ranks of GAESA. He was appointed Minister of Tourism in December 2019. Until then, he was the first deputy minister of tourism and worked closely with Prime Minister Manuel Marrero.
Ricardo Cabrisas (83 years old)
Brigadier General MININT (Retired). Vice Prime Minister.
Second head of the Cuban delegation at the Montreal Expo (1967) and head of the MININT services in Canada. In 1970, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade.
From 1980 to 2000 was Minister of Foreign Trade, then served as Minister of Government (without portfolio) until 2008 when he was appointed vice president of the Council of Ministers.
Close to Fidel and Raul Castro, he has been an important figure in the shaping of Cuba’s foreign economic policy and the renegotiation of Cuba’s multi-million external debt. In July 2016, he was appointed Minister of Economy and Planning until 2018.
Colonel Homero Acosta (57 years old).
Secretary, National Assembly Peoples Power and Secretary, Council of State.
Coronel Acosta has been serving as the Secretary of the Council of State since August 2009 .He holds an undergraduate degree in law and master’s degree in Public Law .He began his career in the Revolutionary Armed Forces Military Tribunals first as a Military Judge, and later as a specialist in the Directorate of Military Tribunals. Coronel Acosta arrived at his current position because of his closeness to Raul Castro in the Secretariat of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. He took part in the negotiations to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States. Acosta worked on the final draft of the 2019 constitution. He’s also close to Alejandro Castro. As secretary of the council of state, he is a person with growing political power.
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla (63 years old)
Minister of Foreign Relations
A survivor of several political purges, he is an attorney and served in Angola on Internationalist missions .From 1995-2003 he was the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations .In 2004, he was appointed First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Latin America and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2009. At the University of Havana, he was a leader of the F.E.U (Federacion Estudiantil Universitaria), and a former director of Juventud Rebelde magazine.
Colonel Alejandro Castro Espín (56 years old)
Liaison National Defense Council
Despite alleged involvement in the suspected sonic attacks against the U.S. and Canadian Embassies, Alejandro Castro remains a powerful member of Cuba’s Intelligence Services. He has close links with Moscow and has been involved in arranging President Vladimir Putin’s several trips to Cuba. He also led secret talks with the Vatican prior to the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba and participated in meetings with his father Raúl Castro and President Barack Obama. Today Alejandro Castro projects a low-profile to keep his image outside the deepening economic crisis facing Cuba.
Brigadier General José Amado Guerra (67 years old)
Executive Secretary, Council of Ministers.
In 1978 he served in Africa (Ethiopia). Back in Cuba Amado Guerra was assigned as an assistant to the Chief of the Eastern Army. He also served in the officer’s staff of the Deputy Chief Minister of the air and antiaircraft Defense troops. In the last decade General Jose Amado Guerra has worked closely with Army General Raul Castro, as executive secretary of the council of ministers.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY HARDLINERS
Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez (59 years old)
President of The Republic of Cuba. Chief of State (Article 125)
Díaz-Canel is a Civil Engineer. From 2009-2012, he was Minister of Higher Education. A protégée of Ramon Machado Ventura. Miguel Diaz-Canel projects a youthful, congenial personality. He speaks in soft monotone voice. Diaz-Canel in an obedient bureaucrat that lacks charisma and gravitas.
Salvador Valdés Mesa (75 years old)
Served as Secretary General of the Association of Rebel Youth (Asociación de Jóvenes Rebeldes [AJR]), in Las Tunas Province. He has occupied several positions in the CTC and in the Communist Party. He was Minister of Labor and Secretary General of the National Trade Union of Agricultural Workers (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Agropecuarios).
Esteban Lazo Hernández (76 years old)
President of the National Assembly of the Peoples Power and State Council.
He is the highest-ranking Cuban of African descent in the Communist government. Highly influential within the “nomenclatura” for his direct access to Raúl Castro and Machado Ventura.
Roberto Morales Ojeda (53 years old)
Vice prime minister
A hardline communist bureaucrat, Morales Ojeda graduated from Medical School in 1991. In 2006, he was appointed as member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In July 2010 he replaced José Ramón Balaguer at the head of the Public Health ministry. He has operational links with GAESA in the multi-million dollar program for Cuban Medical Doctors and nurses.
Lazara Mercedes Lopez Acea (56 years old)
Member of the PCC Politburo. First Secretary PCC Havana
First Secretary of the PCC in the province of Cienfuegos. From 2013 to 2018 she was the vice president of the State Council. First Secretary of the Provincial Committee of the PCC in Havana from 2009 to 2018. A relevant figure among the new generation of Cubans in government.
Gladys María Bejerano Portela (73 years old)
Comptroller General of Cuba since 2009
She is the auditor of accounting and oversees Cuba’s financial reports, such as balance sheets and income statements, of all the State organisms with the exception of GAESA.