Corruption Network Destroys a Company in Guantanamo, Cuba

Part of the merchandise shown on Canal Caribe to condemn the corruption in Guantánamo. / Canal Caribe

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – Corruption has completely devastated the municipal Food Services company of Guantanamo, after the theft of products worth seven million pesos (US $19,000 an $291,000 depending on the exchange rate used) ended with its “total decapitalization,” according to information released on Monday by Canal Caribe TV.

The case affects a large “number of people who have been charged,” as well as state companies and entities that took part in it, said Major Juan Martínez Martinez, describing the investigation for the case. The accused are exposed to sentences of up to 20 years in prison for crimes of embezzlement.

The soldier explains that the network was organized by “a person who had knowledge of how the company worked” and negotiated with several suppliers to “extract goods that never reached their final destination.”

The accused are exposed to sentences of up to 20 years in prison for crimes of embezzlement. Among the diverted products are, mostly, alcoholic beverages, such as rum and beer, and also others of primary necessity, such as chicken and sausages, in smaller quantities.

According to the investigation, the theft occurred by managers and accounting and sales employees, through the falsification of the controls and documentation, which the accused validated in the company’s accounting process, dedicated to comparing the invoices with the orders and the merchandise delivered.

“The records were simply falsified. The product was detoured and the client company, that is, the municipal gastronomy of Guantánamo, paid the supplier and did not receive any merchandise,” he explains. The decapitalization of the company has ended its existence, with the “consequent effect on all its workers,” he added.

Canal Caribe TV says that the best way to prevent situations like these is an “effective and rapid denunciation of facts,” and the report also appeals to the “moral damage” caused by this type of crime.

After decades of concealment of corruption, the official Cuban press has begun to report on crimes of this type, as examples of what can happen. Cases are only made known when the networks are dismantled and those responsible are being investigated or subjected to a judicial process.

In May, something similar occurred in Sancti Spíritus, when the official press revealed that Alexis Fuentes de La Cruz, director of the Sancti Spíritus Municipal Commerce Company between May 2022 and July 2023, had been sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption. In his case, in addition to ignoring the warnings of a specialized committee not to buy soft drinks with a near expiration date, he proceeded to eliminate the documentation that implicated him in the crime. The newspaper added that there were 13 more cases like this in the province.

In February of this year, President Miguel Diaz-Canel asked to combat corruption at a meeting of the Attorney General’s Office and told officials that they should have “zero tolerance” for these cases that “lacerate” and “erode the moral basis of society.”

“Corruption can be so devastating that it can lead a country to poverty, to moral poverty and to material poverty. Corruption can destroy a country,” said the president, who added that it causes distrust in the population in addition to “delaying social development, growth and economic development.”

To date, the most significant fall from grace for an alleged case of corruption is that of the former Economy and Planning Minister, Alejandro Gil Fernández, removed from office in March 2024. To date, no reasons for his dismissal and detention have been made public.

Translated by Regina Anavy for Translating Cuba.

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