Cuban Brigadier General Rafael Moracen Dies at 83

General Rafael Moracen Limonta. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Havana, 26 March 2022 — Brigadier General Rafael Moracén Limonta died this Friday in Cuba at the age of 83, according to the official press, which did not give details about the cause of his death. The soldier served as a naval and air attaché in Angola and also participated in the conflicts in Syria in the 1970s.

Moracén was born in 1939 in Palma Soriano, then Oriente province, and at the age of 18 he became part of the forces of the Third Eastern Front under the command of Juan Almeida, where he was nicknamed Quitafusil. Starting in 1959, with the coming to power of Fidel Castro, he joined the Armed Forces and in 1965 he traveled for military training in the Congo.

With a false Angolan identification, he crossed the border with that country to support the Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and also collaborated in the training of soldiers. In 1967 he returned to Cuba and he left six years later for Syria to become involved in the Yom Kippur War against Israel.

Shortly after, he would return to Angola where he would be a key player in the Cuban regime’s military support for Agostinho Neto until his death in 1979, and then for José Eduardo dos Santos. In 1982 he returned to Cuba, but he would later return to Angolan territory in 1995 as military, naval and air attaché, a position he held for three years.

He was also a founder of the Cuban Communist Party, a delegate to the first, second, fourth and fifth congresses of the organization and a deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power in the first and second legislatures. When he died, he was part of the Association of Combatants.

Moracén’s ashes will be exhibited this Monday at the Veterans’ Pantheon of the Colon Necropolis in Havana, where they will remain until they are transferred to the Third Front Mausoleum.

His death is added to a long list of high-ranking soldiers who have died in recent months in Cuba. Between July and October of last year alone, up to 17 died, all belonging to the historical generation. The first large group of deaths occurred in July, precisely after the protests on the 11th. Generals Agustín Peña, barely 57 years old, Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, Rubén Martínez Puente, Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco, Armando Choy Rodríguez, and Commander Gilberto Antonio Cardero Sánchez all perished in that month.

In August Arnoldo Ferrer Martínez, Reserve Division General Félix Baranda Columbié and Santiago Lorenzo Hernández Cáceres joined the list and in September Eladio Julián Fernández Cívico, who was in charge of GeoCuba, also joined the Reserve Colonel Eugenio Suárez Pérez and retired FAR (Revolutionary Armed Forces) Colonel Eduardo Morejón Estévez, a veteran of war conflicts in Africa and Asia.

The month of October also left numerous deaths, including that of Manuel de Jesús Rey Soberón, José Ramón Silva Berroa, Brigadier General Diego Cobas Sanz, Manuel Fernández Falcó at the age of 85 and, finally, Alejandro Ferrás Pellicer, one of the last assailants of the Moncada barracks, who was already 99 years old.

Even though all but one of them were united by their advanced age and the deaths occurred at the peak of covid, there was no lack of speculation, sometimes fueled by the official press itself, which was sparing in the information on the reasons for the deaths and hid other details.

The official media reported deaths, sometimes on the date of death, sometimes days later, sometimes revealing the cause (which in some cases was officially covid but in others not) and other times vague. In addition, some were paid a public tribute while others went unnoticed.

In particular, the July deaths aroused the greatest suspicion, as the bodies of the first five deceased generals were immediately cremated without honors.


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