14ymedio, Havana, 29 December 2017 — Among the aftermaths of Hurricane Irma, which devastated thousands of homes along the island and damaged several hotels in the North Cays, the unusual prominence won by Army General Joaquín Quintas Solá (b. 1938, Santiago de Cuba) must also be counted. The soldier spent weeks visiting the affected areas and gaining visibility in the official press.
This Santiaguan, who will turn 80 in 2018, is one of the four Army Chiefs of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, as well as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and a deputy of the National Assembly of People’s Power. He holds the title of Hero of the Republic and carried out bombings during the insurrectional struggle against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
Since the destruction left by the hurricane, Quintas Solá has become the most visible face of the government working with the victims, to the point that he has earned the ironic popular nickname of “General Debris.”
Those who lost part or all of their homes are eager to greet him on his trips to the areas affected by the hurricane and comment that “he knows how to listen, but never promises anything concrete.” However, mattresses, roofing tiles and an occasional kitchen pot are distributed along the way. In the news, he is seen giving directions invested with an authority that exceeds his powers within the military sphere.
The publicity surrounding his participation in this challenge resembles a typical electoral campaign, something that has drawn the attention of those who place him as a possible candidate for a vice presidency in the face of the changes in the top leadership that will be announced in February 2018.
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