Cuba Interior Minister’s Son Takes Refuge in the United States

by Café Fuerte

Josue Colome Vazquez, son of Cuban Vice President and Interior Minister Abelardo Colome Ibarra.
Josue Colome Vazquez, son of Cuban Vice President and Interior Minister Abelardo Colome Ibarra. Photo: from Josue’s facebook page.

HAVANA TIMES — Josue Colome Vazquez, son of Cuban Vice President and Interior Minister Gen. Abelardo Colome Ibarra, arrived recently in Miami after crossing the Mexican border and seeking refuge from the US authorities.

Colome Vazquez arrived in Miami in February after first traveling from Havana to Cancun, Mexico, and then continuing his journey to the US border, according to a report from the Cuba al Descubierto blog, published by Cuban issues analyst Luis Dominguez .

The information indicates that Colome Vázquez subsequently flew from Houston, Texas, to Miami to join his mother Suri Vázquez Ruiz, former wife of Colome Ibarra.

A brother of Josue, on his father’s side, Jose Raul Colome Torres is the owner of the successful private Starbien restaurant in Havana, where he lives with his mother, Hilda Torres Beltran, said Dominguez.

In a Facebook profile Josue Colome Vazquez shows recent photos of himself in several locations in Miami.

General Abelardo Colome Ibarra, alias Furry, 75, is one of the highest ranking and most trusted figures in the structure of power in Cuba. He fought in the Second Eastern Front under the command of Raul Castro and upon the revolutionary triumph of 1959 he joined the Rebel Army Intelligence Service. He is a vice president of the Council of State and holds the title of Hero of the Republic of Cuba.

The arrival and taking up residence in the USA has become popular among the children and close relatives of senior figures in the Cuban leadership, a fact that has been repeated often in recent years.

In August 2012, Glenda Murillo Díaz, daughter of economic reform czar Marino Murillo Jorge, also a VP, moved to Tampa after a trip to Mexico vocational training course and her subsequent escape to the US border.

With the implementation of the island’s new immigration policy, Cubans who reach the US can apply for residence a year and a day under the Cuban Adjustment Act, without losing their residence in Cuba.


30 thoughts on “Cuba Interior Minister’s Son Takes Refuge in the United States

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:58 pm
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    Ok, I see what conditions you mean. However, it will take several years of sustained development to bring Cuba up to that level of infrustructure before they can handle even a fraction of those numbers. The existing infrustructure is straining, and breaking down, as it tries to carry the current domestic population and the 3 million tourists who visit now. No way they can jump to 10 times that in the “year after” time frame you mentioned.

  • April 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm
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    The Castros kept a firm grip on power for 55 years for one reason and one reason only: they want power for themselves. Period.

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:51 am
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    I don’t disagree with you. My wild guess of 30 million tourists per year after embargo assumes that Castros are gone and there is a heavy investment from the US. It can not happen within current economic and political reality in Cuba.

  • April 1, 2014 at 6:59 am
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    You list a number of “what ifs” …Cuba certainly does not have the capacity to absorb 30 million US tourists anytime soon. It will take years of well managed development to bring Cuba up to that level. It’s a lot more complicated than laying on a few more flights. Airports will have to be expanded, hotels built and infrastructure improved. It’s more than a matter of docking cargo ships at Mareil. The goods have to be offloaded and delivered efficiently all over the island. And there’s the problem. The Castro regime has never been very good at organizing all the necessary details of development. The top-down centrally planned economy is disastrous at managing businesses. Plus, the MININT likes to keep an eye on tourists, and with a 60 fold increase in tourism from their hated enemy, the USA, there just wont be enough secret police to go around.

    In short, in order to carry out that kind of development, the Cuban government will have to change completely their way of doing things. And that is never going to happen because it will me an end to the Castro regime.

  • March 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm
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    I am not engaging in baseless speculation. I am referring to the very words of Raul Castro who has stated emphatically that there will be NO POLITICAL REORMS IN CUBA. The government is introducing a series of limited economic reforms, but they have ruled out any change in who the country will be ruled. The economic reforms are carefully designed to serve the needs of the regime. Therefore, Castro regime sees these reforms as a means to preserving their power. Meanwhile, political repression has increased greatly over the last couple of years. That’s the regime’s way of underlining their commitment to NO POLITICAL REFORMS.

    Again, that’s not speculation, that’s an honest evidence based observation on what is happening in Cuba today and what the regime says will happen, and what will not happen, in the future.

    If you imagine that lifting the embargo will suddenly change the mindset of a 55 year old dictatorship, and turn Cuba into a free and prosperous nation, it is you who is engaged in baseless speculation.

  • March 31, 2014 at 11:20 am
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    Giving the Castros a free pass to engage in acts of repudiation, torture, and repression because of the highly propagandized US embargo is a mistake. The embargo has no connection to the Castros support of al-Assad in Syria, Gadhafi in Libya and Kim Sung-il in North Korea. These alliances reflect world view. Your tacit support of the Castros also eloquently lend support to these totalitarian regimes. Is this your intent as well?

  • March 31, 2014 at 9:02 am
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    hahahahaha! Good one, Griffin. Thanks for sharing.

  • March 31, 2014 at 5:50 am
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    Moses, without the economic embargo being lifted, I guess both of us will never know.

  • March 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm
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    If there is a demand it can be solved. 18 flights per hour can be spread among many different airports in Cuba, not just Havana. Many passengers will arrive by ferries and cruise ships. Food and supplies will be brought in on cargo ships to new port in Mariel. Licensing of casa particular can be relaxed so more houses would be available. Existing hotels can be expanded and new hotels built. It is not impossible to have 30 million visitors. Last year 95 million tourists visited Florida and it did not cause a catastrophe there.

  • March 30, 2014 at 8:12 am
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    Terry, you overestimate the goodwill of the Castros and underestimate their overriding desire to stay in power. Historically, dictators do not respect acts of goodwill, they take advantage of them. Griffin’s point can not be overstated. You claim to care about Cuba but you make no mention of holding the Castros accountable for the lack of basic human rights. You are free to express your anti-US rhetoric as you choose but you should not think it is a valid substitute for pro-Cuban issues. The embargo has nothing to do with open elections. The embargo has no connection to a free press. These are issues where reform would benefit the Cuban people and should be implemented irrespective of the US embargo. Finally, how does the future of your Cuban children change when the embargo is lifted but the policies of the Castros remain in place?

  • March 30, 2014 at 1:06 am
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    “The Cuban people will continue to be forbidden from doing business with foreigners, the regime would continue to have a monopoly on all economic activity and the political repression would continue.”

    Absolutely everything you wrote in that statement is complete speculation…if not utter nonsense. Griffin, you simply don’t know what will happen. Nobody does. But coincidentally, has it ever occurred to you that the revolution and the current Cuban government remain in place chiefly because America is still at war with Cuba and her government? Has it ever occurred to you that if the embargo is lifted, and by doing so, the US government acknowledges Cuba’s right to sovereignty, that this would in turn then motivate the Cuban government to relax their war-time measures that have been in place to support and protect the revolution all these years? You don’t get it, do you? The government has held on to power to insure the revolution survives…to insure that Cuba survives as a sovereign nation…WITHOUT the threat of Cuba being over-run, bought up, manipulated, or raped by America ever again. The Cuban government will not kowtow to American interventionist policies aimed at destabilizing their right to sovereignty and self-determination as a nation. In short, the Cuban government, as we know it today, continues to persist because the American government continues to persist with their policies aimed at taking back control of Cuba.

    “That is why I do not for one minute believe you give a damn about the well being of the Cuban people.”

    Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth. I care about the Cuban people very dearly. I have dozens of true Cuban friends and family, several Cuban children I care for, and a Cuban wife and family that I love with all my heart. I want them all to have a brighter future in a nation that stands proud and united against the forces of tyranny. Fortunately, their brighter future doesn’t involve their government capitulating to America’s terrorist tactics to effect change in Cuba. Change WILL come to Cuba, but it will be on Cuba’s terms…not yours, not your government’s, and not by any American who thinks of themselves as a little-big-man dictator.

  • March 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm
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    On of the most popular new restaurants in Havana is the “Star Bien” on Calle 29. Many foreign tour groups are brought here to eat, and their reports on Trip Advisor are glowing.

    The owner of Star Bien is one, José Raúl Colome, son of General Abelardo Colome Ibarra. Isn’t that a coincidence?

    It seems the General and his family have a good nose for new business opportunities.

    http://translatingcuba.com/colome-ibarra-alias-furry-the-enriched-general-leon-padron-azcuy/

  • March 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm
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    It seems this young man’s father once visited Miami himself:

    “September 1959: Comandante Abelardo Colome Ibarra and another officer traveled to Miami and offered to initiate an intelligence exchange with the Dade County Sheriff’s Department. Colome openly declared his intelligence affiliation and offered information on US organized crime operations in Cuba in exchange for material on Cuban exiles in the US. The Intelligence Department of the Sheriff’s Office rebuffed the Cubans. Law enforcement authorities suspected Colome’s real purpose was to establish a legal intelligence presence to further enhance the growing operations then underway by “Illegal” officers.”

  • March 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm
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    I did a google search on General Ibarra and came up with this amusing, if bizarre, item:

    “Carla Toronto Agent replies to Toronto Agent

    27 May 2013

    This is the email I got today. Love the internet and those who share this kind of information; I thought I would do the same!

    SCAM

    Greetings,

    My name is General Abelardo Colome Ibarra of CUBA Army.

    It is my personal intention to relocate my family to your country,We need a home with about 4rooms, 1 good sitting room, good toilets and bathroom, it should also has good environment and the price range should be between $1Million to $2Million home, if possible we will prefer the home to be located in a very secured area considering our safety,please can you forward to us home listings that you have so that we can go through them before making a choice.

    Can you also please brief me a little about the best investments in your country, it is my desire to also invest in other areas once we relocate to you country.

    Thank you and looking forward to receiving the home pictures so that we can go through them before making a choice.

    Respectfully.

    General Abelardo Colome Ibarra
    Havana Cuba
    537-413-587”

    Fortunately, the real estate agent realized it was an internet scam right away. Obviously, a high ranking Cuban General would not conduct business this way. No, instead, he would send his son to shop for real estate, in between slurping milk shakes.

  • March 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm
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    Vitor, you might want to take a closer look at that number 30 million visitors in one year works out to 82,000 visitors per day, every day for 365 days. Given the average capacity of the tourism air fleet is 189 passengers, that gives us 435 flights to Cuba every day. That’s 18 flights per hour. This is on top of the already large number of tourist flights to Cuba. And don’t forget to add more flights to bring in food & other supplies the tourists will need.

    The total number of hotel rooms in Cuba is 99,376 (2010 data). Add hostels, tourism villas and casas particular, and the total lodging capacity is 120,000. That means all of Cuba’s rooms will be fully booked in less that 2 days. There would be no room for such a huge influx of US tourists, never mind all the Canadian and European tourists.

    Given that Cuba can barely feed the 11 million Cubans on the island, importing 80% of their total food requirements, to take in 3 times their total population in US tourists is simple far beyond their ability to feed, move, house and look after.

  • March 29, 2014 at 9:22 am
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    I continue to marvel at the willful obtuseness of those who continue to argue for the US to end the embargo as the solution to Cuba’s troubles. You even insist this will help the Cuban people. Yet you never once call for the one step which would help the Cuban people more than anything: for the Cuban government to allow freedom and democracy in Cuba. With that simple change, the US would quickly lift the embargo, the Cuban people would have the economic freedom necessary to benefit from the new trade, and there would be an end to political repression and human rights abuse the Castro regime has inflicted on the Cuban people for 55 years.

    Wouldn’t that be the best path forward for Cuba?

    But no: you & your ilk call only for the US to lift the embargo with the regime carrying on as always. The Cuban people will continue to be forbidden from doing business with foreigners, the regime would continue to have a monopoly on all economic activity and the political repression would continue.

    That is why I do not for one minute believe you give a damn about the well being of the Cuban people.

  • March 29, 2014 at 7:42 am
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    Don’t be ridiculous. 30 million people don’t visit Disneyland in a year. Well-funded tourism studies have estimated that without travel restrictions, an estimated 1 million more Americans would visit Cuba. Interestingly, without Fidel Castro and communism that number increases. The limiting issue is Cuba’s tourism infrastructure. Presently, Cuba does not have the airport, car rental, and hotel accommodations to absorb the extra 1 million Americans.

  • March 29, 2014 at 5:43 am
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    Griffin, when the US government ends the embargo, with the current Cuban government in place, then logically, the US government will be deeming the Cuban government as “legitimate”.

    Griffin, the US government made it clear years ago that they would not invade Cuba after the crisis ended with Khrushchev. And we all know that we can totally TRUST the US government. Right? Strangely, the Cuban government still doesn’t…I wonder why?

    Griffin, the Cuban government’s economic power will
    continue with or without the end of the embargo. It’s the Cuban people who are hurting because of the embargo. Ending it can only be a positive step in bettering the lives of all Cubans and setting the stage for a more influential relationship between the two governments to effect
    change…all-be-it, baby steps, but the embargo hasn’t paid dividends. And until we give a new approach a try, your theory (and mine too, I’ll admit) are all speculation.

  • March 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm
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    I would not get surprised if more than 30 mil. Americans will try to visit Cuba in the first year after embargo just out of curiosity.

  • March 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm
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    Terry wrote:

    “Logic dictates that when the US government strikes down the embargo, the Cuban government will be rightfully acknowleged as legitimate.”

    There is nothing logical about that conclusion. The Cuban regime hates the US government. They do not crave their approval. Next?

    “The preceived threat of American military invasion will cease, and the Cuban government will be able to relax their ‘war-time’ measures”

    Wrong again. The Cuban government has known since the end of the Cuban Missile Crises that the USA will never invade. The only …ONLY… reason the regime keeps the threat alive is to distract the Cuban people while they put the gun to their head. Nobody in Cuba is fooled by this trick.

    The argument that the end of the embargo will lead to the an opening of the Cuban regime & an end to repression of the Cuban people fails on a clear point: the Cuban regime leads the call to end the embargo. Do you really think they would advocate for a policy which would destroy their power?

  • March 28, 2014 at 10:48 am
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    I think the major flaw in your theory is your negative perception of what the Cuban government will do with their new found freedom…post embargo. I see things more positively, and my assertions are reasoned based on logic. Logic dictates that when the US government strikes down the embargo, the Cuban government will be rightfully acknowleged as legitimate. The preceived threat of American military invasion will cease, and the Cuban government will be able to relax their ‘war-time’ measures that they’ve been forced to adopt to insure the survival of the revolution. New freedoms will be introduced, especially as prosperity returns to the island. Prosperity will naturally stimulate a growing demand for more freedoms.

    Moses, you see access to more money as representing a need and ability to pay for more repression. That simply doesn’t make any sense. I see access to more money as representing their ability to provide more freedom for their people. I see the glass as half-full, while you see the glass as half-empty. I think the Cuban government would like all of it’s citizens to prosper under the new economic and social freedoms that are sure to be generated post embargo. And opening up trade between Cuba and the US can only help to enhance and influence changes in domestic government policies as the two nations move forward together. I’m far less cynical than you.

  • March 28, 2014 at 9:36 am
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    Here is the reason for pause in allowing American tourists hordes to invade Cuba. If the currently nearly 3 million Canadian, European and South American tourists per year have done little to encourage the regime toward political reforms BUT have added nearly $4 billion in annual tourism revenues which the Castros have used to maintain the status quo, what reason is there to believe an estimated 1 million more tourists each year owed to unrestricted travel would have any positive impact? What is clear that 1 million more Americans would add an estimated $2 billion more in tourism revenues. The Castros would certainly use this 4% increase in annual GDP to pay for more repression of the Cuban people.

  • March 28, 2014 at 7:57 am
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    Noooooo!! Not at all. That’s practical! And I totally agree with you. Flipping this on it’s head…I’ve always said that the U.S. should drop the travel ban (and economic embargo) completely and let all Americans put boots on the ground in Cuba so as to become ambassadors for change. If change is what your government wants for Cuba, then allow the American people to up-sell it directly and plant the seeds of change in the minds of the Cuban people.

  • March 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm
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    Not as hysterical as you think. What you describe happens
    all the time. Kids with means from all over the world come to the US and study at our universities, enjoy our way of life and then return to their village, pueblo etc. as the big fish in the little pond. But here’s the trick. They usually return to their huts infected with the virus of American freedom and
    our way of life. That’s why our music sells, our movies are watched, our cars are driven, and our way of life is desired. So in the end, the Chinese, Cubans, Vietnamese, etc. are humming to Miley Cyrus. Now that’s hysterical!

  • March 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm
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    The son of the FBI director wouldn’t HAVE TO work as a waiter in Cuba because daddy would be sending all the money he needs to live comfortably in his new digs without lifting a finger…just as he did at home. What? And you think that Josue’s father isn’t now going to do the same for him? Come on, Moses, give your head a shake. Money makes the world go round, and when you have it, and can send it, anything is do-able. The thing is…the jokes on America, because they’ll be providing him with his tip money while he’s living in Miami.

    And Moses, there are lots of rich American expats of all ages who have chosen to live in Cuba for extended periods of time…and no, they’re not criminals either. But I don’t need to tell you that.

  • March 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm
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    Your retort that it is simply what Americans do would hold water if the son of the FBI director also decided to “continue his schooling” by going to work as a waiter in Cuba as a way to round out his education. NO ONE does that however. The traffic is one-way. Americans do leave for Europe, just as Europeans come to the ‘States. I don’t know any rich young person, in their right mind, or who isn’t a criminal that “flees” to Cuba? Do you?

  • March 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm
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    No, he’s on vacation. And at the expense of U.S. tax payers too. Hysterical! When he learns everything there is to learn…and gets bored…he’ll go home and invest his new-found knowledge in Cuba. You guys can’t see the forest for the trees. Absolutely hysterical!

  • March 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm
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    So you agree, he’s not a “refugee”, maybe only a rat fleeing the sinking ship?

    Maybe he can get a job at a newspaper or a university where he can write a column as a “Cuba expert” explaining to clueless Americans why the US government should drop the embargo and embrace Raul’s fabulous investment opportunities in Mariel?

  • March 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm
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    Ah yes, Moses. But now he has the best of both worlds going for him. And why not…if it’s possible, why not. I’d want it all too if I was a spoiled army brat. And my rich influential family in Cuba could make it all possible for me too. There’s a method to their madness…I have no doubts that he will always miss Cuba. Afterall, when he returns, he’ll be bringing home his American money and newly acquired entrepreneurial know-how to invest in the new Cuba after his education in Miami is complete. Moses, he didn’t “flee Cuba”…he’s only continuing his schooling in the same way that the very rich in America send their kids off to Europe for a cultural and educational sebattical. And America is paying for his education too… that’s the hysterical part. Too funny.

  • March 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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    Curious isn’t it? How even those Cubans living at the top of the food chain, still don’t understand that Castro-style socialism is the way to go. There is no doubt that this privileged son of a Castro elite, owned his own car, lived in a comfortable air-conditioned home and had plenty of money to spend on nights out and designer clothes. Yet, despite these comforts, he still sought the freedoms unavailable in Cuba under the Castro dictatorship. He should have contacted Walter Teague or John Goodrich before he escaped the Castro tyranny to fully appreciate how wonderful life in Cuba is.

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