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Cuban Communist Party Fires Latin American Guerrilla Expert

March 4, 1992

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Cuba’s chief liaison with Latin American guerrilla groups, an old revolutionary comrade of Fidel Castro, has been relieved of his duties, the country’s ruling Communist Party said Wednesday.

The announcement did not say why Manuel Pineiro Losada, known for years as ″Red Beard″ for his long flowing beard, was removed.

But one expert said she believed President Castro was seeking to reassure other Latin American nations that Cuba has abandoned its policy of spreading Communism.

Pineiro Losada, who as chief of the Americas Department coordinated aid to Latin guerrilla groups, will remain on the party’s Central Committee but with other duties, said a report from Havana by the Mexican news agency Notimex.

The official Cuban agency Prensa Latina, monitored by the BBC in London, said Pineiro Losada was relieved of his job Feb. 24. It did not say why news of the action was delayed.

Pineiro Losada, who took part in the revolution that put Castro in power in 1959, will be replaced by Jose Arbesu Fraga, who headed Cuba’s interests section in Washington, Prensa Latina said.

Two other longtime colleagues of Castro, Armando Hart and Vilma Espin, in October lost their positions in the party’s 25-member Politburo.

Jillian Gunn, an expert on Cuba at Georgetown University, said Pineiro Losada’s replacement appeared to underline Castro’s assurances to Latin American nations that the days of Cuban involvement with foreign rebel movements are over.

Pineiro Losada ″has the reputation, justified or not, of being the architect of the most mischevious and interfering activities of Cuba in Latin America,″ Gunn said in a telephone interview.

Gunn described Pineiro’s replacement, Arbesu, as ″a diplomat’s diplomat, very polished.″

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