Cuban General Marcelo Verdecia, Fidel Castro’s Assistant in the Sierra Maestra, Dies

Caption: Marcelo Verdecia joined the rebel army in 1957 at age 16. (

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 21, 2021 – Reserve Brigadier General Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, who was Fidel Castro’s bodyguard in the Sierra Maestra, died this Tuesday in Villa Clara province. The official Cuban press did not release the cause of death.

Verdecia joined the rebel army in 1957 at the age of 16 and participated in the clashes against Fulgencio Batista’s troops at the end of 1958. He was at Castro’s side as part of the Freedom Caravan and entered Cienfuegos in January of 1959.

Castro’s escort until 1960, Verdecia Perdomo was very close to him. “I was always by his side; I learned a lot from him. Sometimes we would move alone from one column to another and, along the way, he would ask: ’Do you think we should ambush them, can we catch them here?’ My military training was limited and I would just agree with him, saying: ’I think so, Fidel.’”

Verdecia participated in the response of the Revolutionary Armed Forces to the anti-Castro guerrillas in Escambray between 1959 and 1965, and also in Playa Girón (the Bay of Pigs), where he was a battalion commander. After that he remained in Cienfuegos. He later deployed to Africa and afterward joined units of the Revolutionary Armed Forces in various provinces.

On December 7, 1993, he founded and presided over the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution and was, according to the official press, a military prototype for several generations.

He was convinced that “the internationalist military patriotic work, and the work in schools with the new generations charged with giving continuity to this great revolutionary work,” should be strengthened, according to the State newspaper Granma.

Last April 29, Marcelo Verdecia was recognized by Miguel Díaz-Canel with the honorary title of “Hero of Labor of the Republic of Cuba.”

Translated by Tomás A.


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