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Ania Guillermina Lastres Morera, the first colonel of the Cuban Army, appointed interim president of Gaesa

Behind the sudden demise last July 1 Major GeneralLuis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Calleja, president of the FAR’s Business Administration Group (Gaesa), there is talk of a power struggle in the Cuban military leadership. At the moment, it is the first colonel Ania Guillermina Lastres Morera who, as first vice president of Gaesa, will replace López-Calleja on an interim basis.

Sources directly linked to Gaesa and consulted by ABC, revealed – under condition of anonymity – that Lastres Morera was representing López-Calleja before and during his convalescence period, when at the end of 2020 he fell ill with COVID-19, left with serious lung conditions for which, on numerous occasions since then, he required more hospital admissions and treatments.

Exists little public information about Ania Guillermina Lastres Morera before her appointment as a deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power in 2019. At just 24 years old, she began working in the Cuban Armed Forces in 1984, as a specialist in the Directorate of Economic Collaboration and Material Fund, directly subordinate General Julio Casas Regueiro –creator of Gaesa–; Towards the mid-1990s, she would also subordinate herself to López-Calleja, his immediate superior at Gaesa.

Who is Lastres Morera

From these years there is evidence of its link to the real estate sector outside the island, as well as his name appears linked to several ‘off-shore’ companies registered in Panama and the United Kingdom, mostly related to the import-export of supplies, with shipping traffic and financial services, as well as the purchase and sale of real estate. For example, in 1987 she was appointed director of Anlamex Corp., one of the first creations of the FAR business system, registered as a commercial company in Panama.

Other of the most important companies in charge of Lastres Morera were Acintex SA, importer/exporter, and the financial company Lukenwest Holdings, SA, in charge of managing transactions between Cuban shipping companies and importers registered in Panama and European and United States companies. Apparently this was one way to circumvent the US embargo and whose objective was to raise dollars. However, most of those mentioned have been inactive since the end of the 1990s, the last one having been dissolved in 2017.

His sister, Adys Lastres Morera, is dedicated to rental of luxury houses to foreigners in residential areas of Havana through AirBnB, a business that shows its expansion despite the economic crisis on the Island, and only sustainable by those closely linked to power on the Island. However, so far, due to lack of evidence, it is not possible to link Ania Guillermina as a direct beneficiary of her sister’s rental business.

Despite her rapid rise in the FAR and the trust placed in her as López-Calleja’s right-hand man, several people close to Gaesa and also consulted by ABC, they do not bet that he will remain for a long time at the head of the main Cuban business emporium. The sources believe that possibly in a few months –depending on whether or not she is promoted to the rank of general–, she will be removed from her position to occupy other functions, perhaps she will be appointed deputy minister in the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The best behaved

The same sources assure the probability that the new appointee to lead the Castro family emporium is the current prime minister. Manuel Marrero-Cruz, a man of military origin, with the rank of colonel, and linked to López-Calleja, whom he called “my brother” in the condolence note posted on Twitter.

“(…) he (would accept the position) more than happy, because although it seems that he falls well below prime minister, he knows better than Diaz-Canel where the real power is, where the ‘money’ comes from,” he assured. the fountain.

Marrero is “the only one of the great leaders who, having been appointed by Fidel Castro, not only kept his position as Minister (of Tourism) once Raúl inherited the dictatorial scepter from his brother, in 2009, but also was rewarded with promotion to his current position (in 2019) that, just prior to him, was occupied by Fidel himself, before he proclaimed himself president of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba,” the press outlet maintains.

The sources also affirm that, if today he holds the position of prime minister, it is precisely because he is a military man and from Gaesa. «Marrero is even much younger than Ania, and much busier in business matters. Ania has always been like the one in charge of the dirty work, the one who does that part that tough guys don’t like to do. (…) Very efficient but that’s it. I don’t think they leave her in the post for a long time (…). Gaesa is for the one who has behaved the best, and that could be Marrero, without a doubt. He was not only a great friend of Luis Alberto, (…) but he was his best student. Maybe he is not today or tomorrow, maybe he assumes it from the shadows, but Gaesa is not for Ania, who does not even dream of it, “added the source.

Others are more skeptical, like the Cuban economist Elías Amor, for whom it is better to wait for events to issue an opinion.

«It will not be easy to relieve López-CallejaNot even temporarily. Marrero does not have the solvency to replace López-Calleja and it is said that there is a dossier of his tastes prepared by Díaz Canel, that is, there is talk of an investigation in which they take out some special businesses. I don’t know if it’s true, but there is talk that Marrero has expensive tastes, a spendthrift. Unfortunately, I do not have data to corroborate it, and it will be difficult to obtain it ».

For the specialist, «Mrs. Lastres does not offer solvency to the Castros either. We will see, but when they take time it is that they have it very complicated ».

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