Bad Streak for Cuban Generals: Four Have Died in a Week

Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco was a native of Yara, in the province of Granma. (Government of Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 26, 2021 – Reserve Brigadier General Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco died this past Monday, according to a brief informational note released by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. He is the fourth high-ranking military officer to die in recent days in Cuba; the cause of death was not specified in any of the cases.

The statement with the information, read during the Midday News program on Cuban Television, recounted that Lastres was a native of Yara, in the province of Granma, joined Fidel Castro guerrillas in 1957, and was also under the command of Camilo Cienfuegos in Column Two, which carried out the invasion of western Cuba.

After Castro’s rise to power in 1959, Lastres served as a battalion chief in the fighting against the rebels in the Escambray region, also as an infantry division brigade chief of the Territorial Militia Troops (MTT). He was one of the senior officers who commanded Cuban troops in Angola.

The body of the general “was cremated and his ashes will be displayed for a family tribute on a date that will be announced in due course,” the note added.

This Saturday the official press also reported the death of Reserve Major General Rubén Martínez Puente, who died at the age of 79. Martínez had been indicted in the United States for the murder, on February 24, 1996, of four members of the Brothers to the Rescue organization, created to help rafters who escaped from the island.

The general was accused of having transmitted Raúl Castro’s order to fire missiles from Mig fighter planes of the Cuban Air Force, to shoot down the planes in which the exiles were traveling. The attack occurred over international waters, though the Cuban government claimed that the planes had entered the island’s airspace.

Last Tuesday, the official media reported the death of Reserve Brigadier General Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, who was Fidel Castro’s bodyguard in the Sierra Maestra. And On Saturday, July 18, the death of another general was announced, the head of the Eastern Cuban Army, Agustín Peña (b. 1963) from undisclosed causes, but knowledgeable sources indicated that Covid-19 was the cause of his death.

Translated by Tomás A.


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