Havana: Cuba on Wednesday named General Leopoldo Cintra Frias, a hero of military campaigns in Angola and
Ethiopia, as the country`s new defence minister.
Cintra, 70, replaces the late general Julio Casas
Regueiro -- President Raul Castro`s right hand man -- who
dropped dead of a heart attack September 3 at the age of 75.
The announcement that Cintra was appointed Minister of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces came in a statement read on
Cintra, a member of the influential Communist Party
politburo since 1991, is a symbol of Cuba`s military
internationalism for his participation in campaigns in
Ethiopia and Angola in the 1970s and 1980s respectively.
He has been deputy defence minister since 2008.
Cintra -- nicknamed "Polito" by former Cuban president
Fidel Castro -- was awarded the title "Hero of the Cuban
Republic" in 1988.
Cintra joined Cuban rebels aiming to topple dictator
Fulgencio Batista in 1957 and is one of the "young"
revolutionary leaders: Raul Castro turned 80 in June, while
his older brother Fidel is 85; first vice president Jose Ramon
Machado is 81, and the historic revolutionary commander Ramiro
Valdes is 79.