Monday, January 30, 2006

Cuba names new Guantanamo boss

Posted on Fri, Jan. 27, 2006
Cuba names new Guantánamo boss


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- The Cuban army general who has been the Pentagon's primary contact with this isolated U.S. Navy base has retired and been replaced by a navy captain, the U.S. commander here says.
Brig. Gen. José Solar Hernández, commander of the Frontier Brigade deployed around the base, announced his retirement Monday at the monthly meeting held along the fence that separates the Navy facility from Cuba proper.
He was replaced by Cuban Navy Capt. Pedro Román Cisneros, a 37-year veteran who served in submarines, U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Leary told The Miami Herald in an interview this week.
Cuba is believed to have retired its three submarines after the loss of Soviet subsidies. Analysts describe its navy today as a tiny, short-range force whose purpose is to defend the coast and intercept civilian vessels on unauthorized trips.
The United States and Cuba started monthly meetings here a decade ago to avert misunderstandings between U.S. Marines and Cuban soldiers who face off across a 17.4-mile fence.
U.S. officials said they had advance notice from Solar of his retirement, so Leary bought a cigar humidor at the base commissary and had it engraved with a crest as a farewell present.
''He seemed genuinely pleased with it,'' said Leary.

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