The Cuban Communist Party has announced that Colonel Anya Guillermina Lastris Moreira will take over the military’s lucrative tourism business following the death of Raul Castro’s former son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez Calleja, the independent Cuban website reported on Monday.
López-Calleja, who is often identified as the single most important economic mind in the Castro regime and’AdvisorTo the family, he reportedly passed away last week. granmaOfficial Gazette of the Communist Party, announce His death due to alleged heart and lung failure on Friday. The general was reportedly 62 years old. Cubanet notes that the government confirmed that Lopez Calleja tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus in late 2020 and rumors circulated over the course of two years that he had not fully recovered from a major respiratory infection.
Cuba has seen a spike in deaths of high-ranking military officers since nationwide protests erupted on the island on July 11, 2021. announce The deaths of 17 officers, including several prominent generals, between July and October 2021. López Calleja, a Politburo member and father to some of the most powerful members of the Castro dynasty, is by far the most prominent death in the past year.
Lopez Calleja has been the long-time president of the holding group GAESA (Grupo de Administración Empresarial SA), the armed forces company that controls Cuba’s tourism industry. While proponents of tourism in Cuba claim that visiting the island helps generate profits for civilians outside the government, in reality, every major hotel in the country’s largest city is controlled by the military. GAESA, through the hotel company Gaviota, owns more than 100 hotels and “villas” across the island, generating millions in revenue for the system. Profit remains within the Cuban military even when GAESA branches Allow Foreign hotel companies to manage the respective hotels.
Reportedly controlled by GAESA 70 percent for the Cuban economy.
López Calleja’s absence significantly threatens one of the Castro regime’s biggest revenue streams at a weak time: the approaching one-year anniversary of the July 11 protests, which drew an estimated 187,000 protesters and led to a wave of state terrorism marked by mass arrests. of children, disappearances across the country, and house-to-house raids, during which police opened fire on suspected protesters in their homes.
“The one who has died is the goalkeeper of the new mafia, the keeper of money and power; responsible for the dirty or clean money that gets into the system.” Economist Emilio Morales explained For the Spain-based publication Diario de Cuba“The owner of the capital in which the regime builds hotels and people starve. The man responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people.”
Despite Lopez Calleja’s stature, the Castro regime held only a small special event to honor him on Saturday. Government news reports showed that 91-year-old Raul Castro and puppet President Miguel Diaz-Canel lay white roses at the mausoleum of the slain general.
“Luis Alberto has always distinguished himself by his strategic vision and sense of duty before every assignment he undertakes,” granma to praise. “He leaves us as his legacy a model of an institutional system that serves as an example to the nation by proving his competence; he also leaves us his dedication, responsibility, and unwavering devotion to the Party, the Commander-in-Chief and the Army Brigade. [Raúl Castro]which he, in addition to his boss, considers a father. ”
Lastris Moreira, who the government has confirmed will run GAESA in Rodriguez’s absence, Servants as his deputy before assuming the new position this weekend. While she has kept a low profile and the system throughout her career has provided little public information about her background, reports indicate that in addition to working for GAESA, her family is well connected with the tourism industry.
Cubanette identified her sister, Adys Lastres Morera, as the owner of several luxury properties on the island available for rent on AirBnB, an American company owned by the US government. Accused of working on the margins of what is legal under US restrictions on business with the Castro regime. AirBnB Settlement With the US government in January accused of violating the remainder of the “embargo” policy against Cuba.
Unlike Lopez Calleja, reports indicate that Moreira has no personal ties to the Castro family outside of her position in the military, raising suspicions that she will only serve on a temporary basis until the regime can find a long-term replacement. .
López Calleja was able to successfully run GAESA—and provide the Castro regime with money that was later used to suppress political opponents and bolster ties with rogue states like China—while attracting little international attention. The general underwent personal sanctions in 2020, under President Donald Trump, for the major operations he conducted to keep the Communist Party going.
The State Department charged at the time: “The proceeds of GAESA’s economic activities are used to oppress the Cuban people and to finance the parasitic colonial control of Venezuela.” “Today’s action demonstrates the United States’ longstanding commitment to ending economic practices that disproportionately benefit the Cuban government, its military, intelligence, and security agencies, or its personnel, at the expense of the Cuban and Venezuelan people.”
The Trump administration had previously banned Americans from staying in hotels owned by Gaviota, a subsidiary of GAESA. In theory, the “ban” prohibits tourism to the island, but it provides Americans with so many legal avenues to visit the island that it does little to prevent tourism in practice.
Canada is also one of the largest funders of the Castro regime. In a report exploring Canadian tourism to the island, the CBC national broadcaster found, “[it] It is almost impossible to operate on the island today without enriching what is already the richest institution in the country: the Revolutionary Armed Forces.”
In addition to managing hotels, GAESA operates banks through which tourists make credit card payments to individuals. It operates stores that sell imported food and goods.