Fired Cuban Official Says His Downfall Was Caused By Business Deals
MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Carlos Aldana, fired as one of Cuba’s top officials, said in an interview published Monday that mistakes on business deals - not political differences or high living - led to his downfall.
Aldana, 50, told Mexican newspaper publisher Mario Vazquez Rana that he was swindled in an attempt to obtain television equipment, including gear for the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana.
The interview, published by Vazquez Rana’s El Sol newspaper chain, was the first comment by Aldana since word leaked out last week that the No. 3 man in Cuba had been sacked.
Aldana said the decision to fire him as chief of the Communist Party’s ideology and foreign policy divisions ″is completely just and consistent″ and showed ″that in our society there is no impunity.″
″In my work as a director I fell into errors, into carelessness, in some cases I exceeded the limits in carrying out my responsibilities,″ said Aldana.
He denied that his lifestyle, corruption or political dissent were involved. ″I am a Fidelista,″ he said, referring to President Fidel Castro.
Aldana’s explanations clashed with the version given Friday by a leading member of the Communist Party Politburo, Roberto Robaina.
Robaina told a news conference in Mexico that Aldana had been fired for ″living above the people.″
Vazquez Rana reported that a Cuban businessman named Eberto Lopez Morales, acting as representative for several foreign companies, had been imprisoned in Cuba in connection with the case. He did not cite a source for the report.
Aldana said a businessman ″swindled some of us and as a result of that swindle, national interests were seriously affected at a very critical moment for our availability of income.″
″We are talking about audiovisual equipment, of televison, of video studios all over the country, of video equipment acquired specifically for the Pan American Games,″ Aldana said.
″There was never bad faith on my part,″ said Aldana, whose ability to give the two-hour interview indicated he is not accused of criminal activity.
Aldana’s successor in the ideology and foreign policy posts, Jose Ramon Balaguer, sat in on the interview and praised Aldana for helping him in the transfer of responsibilities.
Despite his wide range of posts, Aldana rejected claims he was Cuba’s most powerful figure after Castro and his brother, Defense Minster Raul Castro.
He insisted decisions are made collectively in Cuba.
Aldana said he did not know what he would do next. ″My idea is to continuing being and feeling useful.″