BUSTED! Cuban General accused of participating in "Tugboat March 13" massacre caught partying in nightclub
Photographs of Cuban Brigadier General Lázaro Román Rodríguez, the former head of Cuba's Directorate of Coast Guard Troops (TGF) was photographed partying at Tropicana Night Club, 28 years after he allegedly played a role in the tugboat “March 13” massacre.
March 5, 2022 1:45pm
Updated: March 6, 2022 8:47am
Photographs of Cuban Brigadier General Lázaro Román Rodríguez, the former head of Cuba's Directorate of Border Troops (TGF) was photographed partying at Tropicana Night Club recently, 28 years after he allegedly played a role in the tugboat “March 13” massacre, a crime that has gone unpunished for more than a quarter of a century since 1994.
The massacre, which took place seven miles off the Cuban coast on the deck of the "March 13 tugboat," resulted in the death of 42 people including 11 children. Although Fidel Castro's regime has refused to open an official investigation, the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FHRC) has blamed the tragic incident to Gen. Rodríguez.
The human rights group also registered him as a "violent repressor" in its database for his activities as "head of the Border Guard Troops from 1991 to October 2020."
Complaints filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) accuse Roman of having exacerbated the tugboat situation, alleging he targeted the small vessel with pressurized water as it struggled to remain afloat.
FHRC has said that Gen. Román, who was head of the TGF at the time of the incident was responsible for "the deaths of at least 42 people by drowning or shooting by troops under his command in several incidents."
According to witnesses of the massacre, not even the clamor of the women and children who were on board on the deck of the "13 de Marzo tugboat" prevented the attack from ceasing.
Twenty eight years later, photographs have now surfaced of Gen. Román partying with his family at the Havana-based Tropicana cabaret in Dec. 2021, also known as "Paradise under the stars."
The price of a nightclub ticket is about 70 dollars per person, and the costs increase with the dinners, privileges typically forbidden for the average Cuban citizen, who receives low salaries in Cuban pesos.
"Like everyone else, [Gen. Román] diverted resources, he had the best cars, meals and women, all a Chapo Guzmán," said a close source who spoke to ADN Cuba only on the condition of anonymity for security reasons.
Gen. Román began his military career in the province of Cienfuegos, where he was Commander of the first submarine of the Revolutionary War Navy. He graduated from the Cuban Naval Academy and attended university studies in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Most of his service was in the coast guard troops of the Ministry of the Interior, which he commanded for almost 30 years.
But the military veteran is no ordinary person. He reportedly has a comfortable life in Havana similar to any successful businessman. He owes his good living for services rendered to the communist regime for decades, including being involved in pursuing dozens of people who tried to escape the island to freedom.
According to academic Maria Werlau, "despite intimidation and harassment, many survivors immediately denounced the premeditated ramming of the “13 de Marzo” and the deliberate aggression against them while they were unarmed and in no position to seriously resist capture. They recounted how the pursuers appeared to be taking orders from the Cuban Coast Guard cutter and that, at one point, a helicopter had flown over the scene".
According to Cuba Archive, those who survived were terrified.
"It was around 4:50 A.M. when the tugboat sank seven miles northeast of Havana harbor. Panic gripped the stunned survivors. Mothers tried to hold on to their children to prevent them from drowning, screaming for husbands and other relatives to help. They all clung to life in high seas in the dark of night. Many floated atop a large refrigeration box, others hung onto anything that floated by or simply treaded water," the Archive reported.
In 2020, Gen. Román followed the usual path of many Cuban military leaders and became an entrepreneur.
He was reportedly appointed director of Antillana de Salvamento, an entity "exporting services" that "performs commercial maritime salvage work through an international commercial contract known as Lloyd's Open Form," according to the ProCuba directory. The company's headquarters are at Pozuela #48 between San Marcos and More, Cojímar, East Havana.
In January 2005, the entity was listed on the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list.
Reports also indicate that at that time, Antillana Salvage co. Ltd., (or Antillana de Salvamento) was located on the fourth floor of the Lonja del Comercio, Old Havana, and was marked as an agency for the possible laundering of assets of the Cuban regime and banned from doing business with the Americans.
It has subsequently been removed from the OFAC list.
Gen. Román reportedly resides near Punto Cero, the housing complex and land occupied by former dictator Fidel Castro until his death in 2016, west of Havana.