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Bay of Pigs veteran Fernández dies

JOSÉ Ramón Fernández Álvarez, best remembered for directing revolutionary troops under the orders of Commander Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs counterrevolution, is dead.

Cuba announced that retired Brigadier General and Hero of the Republic of Cuba Fernández Álvarez passed away in the early hours of January 6 at the age of 95.

Familiarly known as “El Gallego Fernández”, he was born on November 4, 1923 in Santiago de Cuba.

The authorities said from a young age he participated in the revolutionary struggle against the General Fulgencio Batista dictatorship, in conspiratorial movements with different military and political groups.

“He was imprisoned for almost three years on the Isle of Pines for these activities,” the note states. “With the triumph of the Revolution, he joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces, participated in the fight against counterrevolutionary bandits, as well as in the direction of the battles in Playa Girón, under the orders of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.”

Fernández held different responsibilities within the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, including director of the Rebel Army Cadet School, the School of Militia Officers of Matanzas, and the Militia Battalion Schools of the province of Havana, and was head of the Combative Training Directorate and FAR deputy minister.

Fernández also served as deputy minister and Minister of Education, Council of Ministers vice-president, and President of the Councils of State and Ministers advisor.

He presided the Cuban Olympic Committee from 1997 to October 2018, the year in which he was elected as its Honorary Life President.

Fernández was Communist Party of Cuba founder, a member of its Central Committee since the First Party Congress in 1975, and was an alternate member of the Political Bureau from 1980 to 1991.

He was also a deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power from its constitution in 1976, and member of the Council of State between 1981 and 1993.

Fernández received numerous orders, medals and awards. In 2001, he was awarded the honorary title of Hero of the Republic of Cuba.

His final resting place will be the Frank País Second Eastern Front Mausoleum, Holguín.

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