General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja January 19, 1960 – July 1, 2022

General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja January 19, 1960 – July 1, 2022

Granma, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, reported on July 1, 2022 that Cuban General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, chief administrator of GAESA, and former son-in-law to Raul Castro died of a heart attack. He was 62 years old.

“With deep regret we inform our people that in the early hours of the morning of this Friday, July 1, as a result of a cardio-respiratory arrest, Division General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, executive president of the Armed Forces Business Administration Group, passed away. Revolutionary Armies. General Luis Alberto, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party and deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power, treasures a brilliant record of services to the Homeland and the Cuban Revolution.”

The most powerful and connected man in the inner circle of the Cuban dictatorship, possibly more powerful in day to day operations than Raul Castro, has died.

General Luis Alberto Rodríguez-López Calleja, joined the Politburo of the Cuban Communist Party in April 2021.

Kevin G. Hall and Nora Gámez Torres in their February 12, 2021 article, “Brother of powerful Cuban general moves like a phantom in embargo-evading offshore world.” exposed the links between Guillermo Faustino Rodríguez López-Calleja who controls the Luxembourg registered Mid Atlantic company and his brother Gen. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja.

Brigade General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez Calleja was a former son-in-law to Raul Castro and father to two of his grandchildren, and oversaw the Grupo de Administración Empresarial, S.A., better known by its acronym GAESA that funnels billions of dollars into the coffers of the Castro clan.  

According to Pedro Roig of Cuba Strategic Studies, General Rodriguez Lopez Calleja led “GAESA, a gigantic conglomerate of state and mixed enterprises that manages over 65% of the legal and illegal financial deals of the Cuban Government (highly secret operation), including the Port of Mariel’s developing enterprises, and a distribution partnership with the Colombian and Venezuelan drug cartels.  General Rodríguez was the czar of the economy and a powerful heir to the military dynasty, and Member of the Communist Party Central Committee.” Within the Central Committee Lopez Calleja was a member of the highest decision making body between the plenary sessions of the Central Committee, the Politburo.

Interviewed in the Miami Herald  on September 28, 2020 Emilio Morales, president of The Havana Consulting Group, reported that “the Cuban military, which controls remittances, the tourism industry, and several chain stores, has benefited from remittances to the island, appropriating nearly 74 percent of every dollar sent by Cuban exiles. Morales, who has been tracking the money sent to Cuba over the years, estimates that since 1993, Cuba has received around $46.8 billion in remittances. Almost $20 billion passed through the hands of the Cuban military.”

Until at least 2012 General Rodriguez Lopez Calleja was married to Raul Castro’s oldest daughter, Deborah Castro Espin. He is the father of Raúl Guillermo and Vilma Rodríguez Castro, grand children of Raúl Castro. Raúl Guillermo is also a bodyguard for Raul Castro.


Delfin Fernandez, alias agent Otto, a former member of Cuba’s counterintelligence services, on June 24, 2001 gave Diario 16, A Spanish language newspaper in Madrid that ran from 1976 to 2001, an exclusive interview in which he revealed the organizational chart of Raul Castro’s companies and his business connections abroad at the time.

According to Delfin Fernandez at the time, “GAESA is controlled totally by Raul Castro’s son-in-law. It is through GAESA that ‘moneys are stashed away abroad.’ Otto adds: ‘The funds never make it to the state Treasury; this operation runs parallel to the country’s economy. The group is enormous: it invoices close to one billion dollars annually. In 1997, Luis Alberto Rodriguez confided to a foreign businessman in my presence that GAESA had recently invoiced 970 million dollars.'”

Sanctions targeting GAESA, and its subsidiaries and key personnel such as Brigade General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez Calleja forced Havana to open up sectors of its economy to generate income. This is in marked contrast to what was happening before the current policy.

Ambassador Otto J Reich in his Miami Herald OpEd published on July 9, 2020 reported that under the prior policy “instead of favoring the small private sector in Cuba, the massive new inflow of dollars from U.S. tourism and remittances was mostly captured by the military-commercial conglomerate GAESA, run by Castro’s former son-in-law. GAESA expelled private entrepreneurs, who had been increasing in numbers prior to the opening, from profitable tourist areas and replaced them with pro-government establishments.”

On September 30, 2020 the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List and added Cuban general Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez Calleja.