Cuba’s Children of Power Take Possession / Juan Juan Almeida
Juan Juan Almeida, 13 March 2017 — The appointment of architect Perla
Rosa Rosales Aguirreurreta to succeed historian Eusebio Leal as head of
Havana’s Office of the Historian is the most recent example of the Cuban
regime’s making strategic decisions whose sole purpose is to implement a
very well-organized dynastic succession plan.
In order to further strengthen their hold on every corner of the
country, family members of high-ranking military officials and leaders
of the Cuban Revolution are inheriting key posts and strategic positions
in the political power structure controlled by the Castro family.
For example, Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, eldest child of the late Fidel
Castro, is scientific advisor to his uncle, General Raúl Castro. The
general’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espín, is president of the National
Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) and a deputy in the National Assembly
of People’s Power, the country’s unicameral parliament and supreme body
of state power.
Alejandro Castro Espín, youngest child of Raúl Castro, is an advisor to
the National Commission for Defense and National Security.
Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja — former son-in-law of Raúl Castro
and father of two of the general’s grandchildren — is CEO of the
Business Administration Group and head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces
Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz — the son of Isidoro Malmierca Peoli, who was
Minister of Foreign Affairs — is the Minister of Foreign Trade and
Foreign Investment in Cuba.
Ernesto Daniel Plasencia — son of Colonel Santiago Plasencia and close
friend of Raúl Castro — is a diplomat who recently concluded a stint as
the Cuban ambassador to Qatar.
Leopoldo Cintra González — son of Army General and Revolutionary Armed
Forces Minister Leopoldo Cintras Frías — is the commercial
vice-president of the Habanos Corporation.
Listing every member of this fraternity would be impossible. However,
the case of Rosales Aguirreurreta — daughter of General Ulises Rosales
del Toro, vice-president of the Council of Ministers, founder of the
Communist Party of Cuba and member of the Politburo — stands out not
only for being the most recent example but also for being among the most
It seemed at first that the Office of the Historian would be exempt from
the hostile and ruthless takeover of Habanaguanex and Havana’s historic
city center by the Cuban military.*
But the distrustful people who control the reigns of power in the
country leave nothing to chance.
The talented and very hard-working Leal, who was recently awarded an
honorary doctorate by Mexico’s Casa Lamm, held an enviable position
which has now been turned over to the daughter of one of the
dictatorship’s longtime generals. She is a successor with strong genetic
ties to both the party and military.
At this point it is worth remembering that in December 1988 a trilateral
accord was signed between Angola, South Africa and Cuba in which all
parties agreed to accept Namibian independence, recognize South Africa,
halt support to the UNITA rebels and pull Cuban troops out of Angola.
Three days later, General Rosales del Toro, a career military officer —
one unsuited to his career — who was not convinced of the effectiveness
of dialogue to achieve reliable results, took a proposal back to Cuba
that called for negotiations with the United States and an end to years
of hostility. Instead of receiving a response, he was ordered under
pressure to preside over the 1989 military trial of General Arnaldo Ochoa.**
“Perla, who is also known by a pseudonym I shouldn’t repeat, studied in
the former Soviet Union and spent time working there. She started off in
the investment department and moved up the ladder until she evenutally
became deputy director. When Leal fell ill, she automatically took
over,” says a longtime restorer from the Office of the Historian who,
for obvious reasons, prefers to remain anonymous.
“She appears to be a woman who is prepared. But she doesn’t travel
alone. A few days ago, we had an emergency meeting in which we were
introduced to a new twenty-something Perla: a civil engineer who is
Perla’s daughter and General Rosales’ granddaughter. It seems, so we
were told, that she is a very intelligent young woman who is emerging as
another future head of this institution, which already practically
levitates on a kind of forgetfulness,” says the worker in an observation
that mixes jest and resignation.
*Translator’s note: The Office of the Historian is a governmental agency
dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings in Old Havana,
several of them now profitable tourist hotels. In 2016 the agency and
its restored properties were taken over by Habaguanex, a hotel chain
company operated by the Cuban military, in what some saw as a hostile
**Arnaldo T. Ochoa Sánchez was a prominent Cuban general who was
executed by the government of Fidel Castro after being found guilty of a
variety of crimes including drug smuggling and treason.
Source: Cuba’s Children of Power Take Possession / Juan Juan Almeida –
Translating Cuba –