Mystery in Cuba: 5 high-ranking generals died in just 10 days

FILE PHOTO (AP Foto/Eliana Aponte) (Eliana Aponte, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – The Cuban government hasn’t released the cause of death of the five high-ranking generals who have died in the last ten days.

A coronavirus outbreak during a face-to-face meeting after the July 11 uprising is a possible cause, but the Cuban government hasn’t reported if this was the case.

COVID cases have spiked in Cuba during the last month. On June 24, there were 1,880 new cases. On July 24, there were 7,732 new cases. The island has registered more than 341,000 cases and 2,417 deaths.

Here is the list of generals dead:

  • Armando Choy Rodriguez died July 26. (Source: University).

Choy Rodriguez was a brigadier general. He was an author and historian of Chinese descent and the founder of the July 26 Movement in Villa Clara. Central University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas tweeted Tuesday that he had died Monday night. He was 87.

  • Rubén Martínez Puente died July 24. (Source: TV)

Martínez Puente was a general in the reserves. He was credited with giving the order to shoot down the planes of Hermanos al Rescate, a group of pilots that searched and helped migrants at sea. The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Cuba, or MININT, announced he died on Saturday. He was 79.

  • Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo died July 20. (Source: Newspaper)

Verdecia Perdomo was a reserve brigadier general. He was one of Fidel Castro’s bodyguards. Granma, the Cuban government’s newspaper, reported his death on July 20th.

  • Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco died July 19. (Source: TV)

Lastres Pacheco was the head of the eastern army. Cuban government television reported he died on July 19. He was most proud of having joined Fidel Castro’s guerrilla in 1957, and fighting under the command of the late Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

  • Agustín Peña Porres died July 17. (Source: TV)

Peña Porres was the head of the western army. He was a delegate in the 8th Congress of the Communist Party and was a member of the Central Committee.

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About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.