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Death Claims Cuban Defense Minister

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HAVANA (CBSMiami) – The old guard in Cuba continues to be defeated by time and age, with the latest official to fall Cuban Defense Minister Julio Casas Regueiro, who died of a heart attack Saturday at the age of 75. There was little reaction in South Florida’s exile community, more concerned about reports Fidel Castro’s health is sliding fast.

Regueiro first joined the Castro brothers in the revolution that changed Cuba when he was just 22, and had been a life-long loyal ally of Raul Castro.

Regueiro was named Defense Minister, and one of Cuba’s five Vice Presidents, when Raul Castro assumed leadership in 2008 following the illness of Fidel Castro.

Under Fidel’s government, Raul had held the post of Defense minister.

Cuban officials confirmed his death today, and said that his body had been cremated at his request. The ashes were sent to a mortuary in the Sierra Maestre mountain range, where they will accorded a ceremony with military honors, according to a statement on state-run television.

General Leopoldo Cita Frias will assume the post under Cuban law.

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