Monday, November 19, 2007

Gen. Sergio del Valle, a Cuban Doctor and Soldier, Is Dead

The New York Times


Published: November 19, 2007

HAVANA, Nov. 16 (AP) — Gen. Sergio del Valle Jiménez, a doctor in Fidel Castro’s rebel army in the late 1950s and the army chief of staff during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, died Thursday, the state media reported.

A short article in the Communist Party newspaper Granma on Friday did not give a cause for General del Valle’s death or say how old he was, but he was at least in his 70s. Information on survivors was also not available.

General del Valle joined Mr. Castro’s revolution against the dictator Fulgencio Batista through a Havana underground movement in the mid-1950s. He entered the rebel army as a doctor and soldier fighting against Batista’s troops in eastern Cuba in 1957.

After Batista fled and the rebels took control of the island on Jan. 1, 1959, General del Valle held various positions in Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.

He was the army chief of staff when an exile army backed by the United States tried unsuccessfully to invade the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and also when the United States discovered Soviet missiles on the island the following year, an episode that pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war. The Soviets eventually removed the missiles.

General del Valle was also interior minister in the late 1960s and health minister from 1979 to 1986.

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