By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 30 — At least ten executives in Cuba’s government controlled airline and pharmaceutical industries were sentenced to 3 to 13 prison terms for corruption, announced official sources on Friday.
The accused “received cash and other benefits to favor foreign companies in business transactions” with the Cuban firms they represented, found the court, which also ordered the confiscation of money and goods obtained by the executives in their criminal activity.
Among those punished was Jose Heribrerto Prieto, the director of the cargo division of Cubana de Aviación who got 13 years. Jair Rodríguez Martin, former head of exports for the Herber Biotec S.A. Biotech and Pharmaceutical products was given 10 years.
Nonetheless, the deposed president of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics, General Rogelio Acevedo, was not mentioned in the case. He was also absent from sentencing of other officials under his command earlier this year.
Cuba’s President Raul Castro has repeatedly warned that corruption will not be tolerated under his government, struggling to kick-start the country’s depressed economy.
In a recent meeting of the Council of Ministers, Castro said: “Whoever commits a violation, whatever it is, will be brought to task, and to do so our courts, judges and prosecutors will begin to play a more decisive role.”
Cuban political analyst Esteban Morales told IPS that corrupstion represents an “extraordinary danger” to the country and that “its corrosive power” makes it a matter “of national security.”