Five high-ranking Cuban generals have passed away under mysterious circumstances over the past ten days.
According to Periódico Cubano — a Florida-based news outlet that seeks to establish “a communication bridge between Miami and Havana” — reported on Tuesday that Brigadier General Armando Choy Rodríguez passed away. A Cuban university — which first shared the news with the public — offered no details on the cause of his death.
Periódico Cubano details several other deaths, as translated below:
On July 26, General Manuel Lastres Pacheco, a native of the municipality of Yara in the province of Granma, died. He joined the Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra during the year 1957 and was placed under the command of Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Less than 48 hours ago, on July 25, Major General of the Reserve Rubén Martínez Puente died. The 79-year-old from Santiago began his military life in the Sierra Maestra as a soldier under the command of the column led by Raúl Castro in the Second Eastern Front Frank País.
Reserve Brigadier General Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, who served as one of Fidel Castro’s first bodyguards, died on July 20, 2021, in the city of Cienfuegos at the age of 80.
The fifth recently-deceased general is Agustín Peña Porres, who died on Saturday, July 17, when he was actively serving as head of the Eastern Army of Cuba.
The deaths are drawing the attention of American policymakers. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) noted on Monday that “high ranking military officials in #Cuba have had some incredibly bad luck lately.”
Though the cause of the generals’ recent deaths remains unclear, The Daily Wire reported two weeks ago that some Cuban officials have been hesitant to support the regime’s violent crackdown on anti-communism protesters across the island. For instance, Cuban Vice Minister of the Interior Brigadier General Jesús Manuel Burón Tabit resigned his position after questioning the use of militarized police assets to repress the demonstrations.
“There are real fractures within the regime in #Cuba between older hardliners & some younger officials,” commented Rubio, who is of Cuban descent. “The deputy Minister of the Interior resigned after disagreeing with the violence against the Cuban people. And he is not the only one…”
The Daily Wire also reported that several Cuban artists began resigning from the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) — which, according to its website, exists to “combat all activity contrary to the principles of the Revolution.”
“I cannot continue to belong to an organization that turns its back on a considerable part of the people and chooses to show obedience to an abusive power,” announced playwright Yunior García Aguilera. “I cannot remain in a choir that sings praises to those who ordered the repression against the youth and the combat among Cubans. I cannot be part of a group of artists and intellectuals who have preferred silence or complicity.”
“I will not enter my films in any festival or government-sponsored event or write copy for any of their publications,” added producer and director José Luis Aparicio Ferrera. “I do not plan to participate in any official activities from now on. It’s not much, but it is what I decided.”