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Abelardo Colomé Ibarra

Cuba's next Defense Minister a puzzle‎

Abelardo Colomé Ibarra 42%


Cuba’s next Armed Forces Minister will be an old comrade-in-arms of Raúl Castro. Or a younger man whose selection will hint at the island’s future leadership. Or a hardliner who will not hesitate to crush street riots.

And that is only part of the many strains of speculation sparked by the death last week of Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro, who succeeded Castro at the head of the Armed Forces Ministry (MINFAR) in 2008.

Casas, 75, fought alongside Castro in the guerrilla war against the Batista dictatorship and was long considered his most loyal No. 2 as well as MINFAR’s economic brain. He died from a reported heart attack.

Cuba watchers agree the job is critical: MINFAR now controls 60 percent of the economy, and its loyalty is required for Castro’s risky attempts to inject market efficiencies into the Soviet-styled economy.

The best candidate would appear to be Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frías, 70, another veteran of the anti-Batista fight who is now first vice minister of the armed forces and a member of the Cuba’s ruling Council of State.

Also mentioned as possibilities are two MINFAR vice ministers: Gen. Alvaro Lopez Miera, 68, who also serves as Chief of Staff of the armed forces; and Gen. Ramón Espinosa Martín, 72.

On the list of long-shots are Gen. Abelardo “Furry” Colomé Ibarra, a long-time MINFAR officer before he was appointed as Interior Minister; and Gen. Ulises Rosales del Toro, a former MINFAR first vice-minister who more recently has run Cuba’s sugar industry.







Lea el artículo completo: www.miamiherald.com


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