diplomat and politician Ricardo Alarcon de Quesadawho was a prominent figure in the Cuban revolution, died in Havana at 84 years of age, official media on the island reported today without specifying the causes. “He will be remembered as a thoroughgoing revolutionary for his anti-imperialism and his revolutionary fidelity,” the digital version of the official Granma newspaper highlights on its front page.
the Cuban president, Miguel Diaz-Canelrecalled Alarcón on his Twitter account as a “great patriot and brilliant diplomat of the Cuban Revolution, whose work defended with passion and solid arguments, making our people proud. All of Cuba feels his departure.”
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguezwrote in a message from the same social network: “All our tribute to dear Ricardo Alarcón in loyalty to the revolution, to the party, to foreign policy and to the glorious tradition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba”.
On the wing of Fidel Castro
Alarcón, a Philosophy and Letters graduate from the University of Havana, was a member of the urban wing of Fidel Castro’s guerrillaswho overthrew Fulgencio Batista in 1959. His career, since the triumph of the revolution, was marked by attaining power and occupying important responsibilities in the Government, as well as being a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, only legal).
He was Cuba’s ambassador to the UN, was briefly at the front of the foreign affairs portfolio and then went on to preside for twenty years the National Assembly of People’s Power (parliament, unicameral), the highest legislative entity in Cuba, becoming one of the most influential figures in the country.
Negotiations for the “rafter crisis” with the US
In 1994, he headed a team of five other high-ranking officials, who, on behalf of the Cuban government, negotiated with authorities from the government of the then president of the United States, bill clintona new migration agreement that put an end to the so-called “rafter crisis”.
On February 24, 2013, he was succeeded as president of the National Assembly by Stephen Lazo and six months later, he was “released” from his duties as a member of the Political Bureau of the PCC, of which he had been a member since 1980. From then on he was dedicated to promoting a campaign for the release of five Cubans who were imprisoned in the United States for espionage after being discovered infiltrated in anti-Castro organizations residing in Florida.
Alarcón’s departure was related to the case of his personal secretary and adviser, Miguel Alvarez, who was by his side for almost two decades, and who was accused of espionage for the CIA in 2013 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. In recent years, Alarcón’s public appearances were very rare, although from time to time his articles -mainly on Cuba-US relations- were published on the official Cubadebate website.