Leer en Español
Communist Cuba has made an art out of producing strange medical ailments and mysterious deaths. These are but more “achievements” of the socialist revolution.
The Havana Syndrome, an incapacitating, permanent ailment that has left dozens of American diplomats and their families deaf and handicapped for life — because of a suspected espionage attempt to steal information from electronic devices from a distance — is now joined by a mysterious string of deaths of high-ranking military and state security officers since the July 11th Cuban Uprising began. Why are Cuban generals dying?
Agustín Peña Porres, Manuel Eduardo Lastres Pacheco, Marcelo Verdecia Perdomo, Rubén Martínez Puente, and Armando Choy Rodriguez are the names of the top generals from the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and the Ministry of the Interior (MININT: state security) who have died within an eight-day period following the mass popular anti-regime protests and the ensuing barbaric crackdown.
There is no question that these men had served the Castro-Communist dictatorship well. In their capacity as top officials of the army and political police, they had executed many crimes that would qualify them for criminal prosecution by established international legal norms. In other words, they all had a lot of blood on their hands.
History, however, is full of individuals who collaborated with tyranny and, in pivotal moments, dramatically reverse course and amend their sinful past by conspiring to bring down the evil that they helped entrench. Those closest to political power, especially if commanding or having influence over weaponry and soldiers, are best suited to overthrow governments.
Dictatorships, particularly totalitarian regimes, know this all too well. This is what the social sciences mean when they say a “palace revolution”. It is a coup from the confines of the existing regime. When this action seeks to bring an end to liberticidal rule, it is the execution of the right of rebellion, an inherent ingredient of a republican and Christian principle morally and logistically designed to prompt civic and patriotic acts of liberation.
Cuban communism has masterfully managed to avoid a palace revolution by three principal factors. The first has been its strategic formulation of the FAR. By dividing the armed forces into three separate entities (eastern, central, and western armies), a centralized conspiracy becomes complicated. Another element has been involving the high echelon of the military in the economic realm. This is something the Marxist regime in Havana began with the Perfeccionamiento Empresarial Militar (“Military Business Development”) project in the 1980s. It is worth noting that communist China, upon structuring its economic liberalization scheme, granted its armed forces the role of pioneering the first state-directed commercial enterprises.
The third factor in Castroism’s insurance against coups has been its enormous investment in a top-grade counterintelligence network. When asked to specify what differentiates a communist dictatorship from a simple authoritarian one, Milovan Djilas, the former Marxist Yugoslav politician and author of the classic, The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System (1957) pointed out that in a communist regime the enemy is the genuine or suspected opposition and/or dissident and any “potential” adversary. Inside Cuba, as well as in the exile community throughout the world, opposition groups and organizations are infiltrated.
This is not exclusive to just the opposition/dissidence. The Castro regime’s own apparatus is constantly spied on by counterintelligence operatives. The FAR, MININT, and all organizations that extend from the Communist Party of Cuba are closely monitored.
The deceased string of generals from the Castro regime’s top strata of power that “died” between July 17th and 26th and were allegedly cremated, exhibited at a minimum a level of tacit affinity for the Cuban popular uprising that began on July 11th and/or displeasure with Cuba’s youth being tortured and sentenced to prison terms. It does not take, necessarily, the actual plotting of a liberation attempt to get one killed.
At the level of having any connection with an armed battalion of any sort, a simple look of disaffection to a maid (counterintelligence agencies love to use maids, cooks, gardeners, drivers, and other positions that build relationships of trust) is enough to get one killed. Reports that claim the generals were cremated lends credibility to the notion that they were tortured before being killed to extract any potential information.
While few will mourn the death of these five high-ranking military officials and long-time servants of Castro-Communism, only perhaps in a free Cuba will we know if any of these deaths were involved in a full-scale liberation attempt. One thing is for sure, they will not be the last to mysteriously “die”.
The Cuban people’s stand against tyranny marked a timer that Sunday, July 11th. Freedom’s keg of dynamite will, at some point, go off and unleash the final liberation offensive. A word of caution to many within the ranks of the FAR and MININT, including lower-ranking officers, that may be considering siding with the people and liberating Cuba: act with optimal secrecy, be bold, and remember that right makes might and history and justice will uphold your actions.
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.