A Network of Corruption That Destroyed a Company in Guantánamo, Cuba, Is Dismantled

Part of the merchandise shown on Canal Caribe to condemn the corruption in Guantánamo. / Canal Caribe

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, June 25, 2024 – Corruption has completely devastated the municipal company of Gastronomy of Guantánamo, after the diversion of products worth seven million pesos ended with its “total decapitalization,” according to information released on Monday by Canal Caribe.

The case affects a large “number of people who have been charged,” as well as companies and state entities that took part in it, said Major Juan Martínez Martínez, the examining magistrate for the case. The accused are exposed to sentences of up to 20 years in prison for crimes of embezzlement.

The soldier explains that the network was organized by “a person who had knowledge of how the company worked” and negotiated with several suppliers to “extract goods that never reached their final destination.”

The accused are exposed to sentences of up to 20 years in prison for crimes of embezzlement

The accused are exposed to sentences of up to 20 years in prison for crimes of embezzlement. Among the diverted products are, mostly, alcoholic beverages, such as rum and beer, and also others of primary necessity, such as chicken and sausages, in smaller quantities.

According to the magistrate, the appropriation of resources occurred by managers and accounting and commercial employees, through the falsification of the controls and documentation, which the accused validated in the company’s reconciliation process, dedicated to comparing the invoices with the orders and the merchandise delivered.

“The records were simply falsified. The product was diverted and the client company, that is, the municipal gastronomy of Guantánamo, paid the supplier and did not receive any benefit,” he explains. The decapitalization of the company has ended its existence, with the “consequent effect on all its workers,” he added.

Canal Caribe says that the best way to prevent situations like these is an “effective and rapid denunciation of facts,” and the report also appeals to the “moral damage” caused by this type of crime.

After decades of concealment of facts related to corruption, the official Cuban press has begun to report expeditiously on crimes of this type, as examples of what can happen. Cases are only made known when the networks are dismantled and those responsible are being investigated or subjected to a judicial process.

In May, something similar occurred in Sancti Spíritus, when the official press revealed that Alexis Fuentes de La Cruz, director of the Sancti Spíritus Municipal Commerce Company between May 2022 and July 2023, had been sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption. In his case, in addition to ignoring the warnings of a specialized committee not to buy soft drinks with a near expiration date, he proceeded to eliminate the documentation that implicated him in the crime. The newspaper added that there were 13 more cases like this in the province.

The report appeals, in addition, to the “moral damage” caused by this type of crime

The report appeals, in addition, to the “moral damage” caused by this type of crime. In February of this year, Miguel Díaz-Canel asked to combat corruption at a working meeting of the Attorney General’s Office and told officials that they should have “zero tolerance” for these cases that “lacerate” and “erode the moral basis of society.”

“Corruption can be so devastating that it can lead a country to poverty, to moral poverty and to material poverty. Corruption can destroy a country,” said the president, who added that it causes distrust in the population in addition to “delaying social development, growth and economic development.”

To date, the most significant fall from grace for an alleged case of corruption is that of the former deputy prime minister and former head of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil Fernández, removed from office in March 2024, without the least reason for the cause being known.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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