Cuba Loses Castro’s Replacement at Defense

Ramiro Valdes, Julio Casas Regueiro and Ricardo Alarcon at the VI Communist Party Congress in April 2011. Photo: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

HAVANA TIMES, Sept 3 — Julio Casas Regueiro, the general who replaced Raul Castro as Cuba’s Defense Minister in 2008, died of heart failure on Saturday at 75, reported the Cuban TV afternoon news program.

Casas Regueiro goes along way back with the Castros, having fought alongside Fidel and Raul during the military campaign in the eastern Cuban mountains that led to the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista back in 1959.

The general took over as Defense Minister when Raul Castro officially became president in February 2008.  He also held the post of vice president of the Council of State and was a member of the Communist Party Politburo.

General Casas, an accountant, had overseen the Cuban military’s highly touted business enterprises for years before replacing Raul Castro as Defense Minister.

According to his wishes, Casa’s remains were cremated Saturday, and will be buried at the II Frente Oriental Frank Pais mausoleum in the province of Santiago de Cuba.