Ricardo Alarcón, who was as soon as Cuba’s main diplomat, the third strongest Cuban Communist after Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, and his nation’s most outstanding conciliator with the United States, died on Saturday in Havana. He was 84.
His demise was introduced by the Cuban Foreign Ministry. No trigger was specified.
From 1966 to 1978, and once more from 1990 to 1991, Mr. Alarcón was Cuba’s consultant to the United Nations. He served a time period as vp of the General Assembly and for 2 months was president of the Security Council.
He was appointed international minister in 1992 and from 1993 to 2013 was president of Cuba’s National Assembly, a legislative physique that sometimes complied with President Castro’s agenda.
Fluent in English and recognized for his white guayabera shirts and Cohiba cigars, Mr. Alarcón turned a well-recognized determine within the negotiations that ended an uncontrollable exodus of hundreds of Cuban refugees to Florida on flimsy rafts when the Clinton administration agreed in 1994 to situation 20,000 visas yearly to Cuban immigrants.
In 2000, he was instrumental in engineering the return of the younger castaway Elián González from relations in Miami to his father in Cuba after a fierce seven-month authorized battle. The boy, who was about 5 years previous at the time, had landed in a truck tire off Fort Lauderdale, set adrift after his mom and a dozen others fleeing Cuba drowned in a failed ocean crossing within the Florida Straits.
Mr. Alarcón’s position within the González case, and his success a couple of decade later in successful the discharge of 5 Cuban spies who had been accused of infiltrating anti-Castro refugee factions in Florida, had been a prelude to the eventual normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.
His success as a negotiator however, Mr. Alarcón was aggressive in defending his nation’s ideology and denouncing the United States.
“The Americans said, as early as 1959, that Mr. Castro had the support of the vast majority of people,” he instructed The Guardian in 2006. “They had to undermine that support by denying money and exports to cause hunger and unemployment and massive suffering that would have a people so disgusted that they would want change.”
“For me,” he added, “the starting point is the recognition that democracy should begin with Pericles’ definition — that society is for the benefit of the majority — and should not be imposed from outside.”
William M. LeoGrande, a professor of presidency at American University in Washington, described Mr. Alarcón in an electronic mail as “an indefatigable supporter and defender of ‘the Revolution’” who, “in his dealings with the United States, never wavered in the belief that a more normal relationship would benefit both countries — and was possible.”
But Theodore Henken, a sociology professor at Baruch College of the City University of New York, added, additionally by electronic mail, that Mr. Alarcón was “far too comfortable in a system where the people hold no power to demand that their nonelected leaders remain accountable to them.”
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada was born on May 21, 1937, in Havana to a household described as higher center class.
He entered the University of Havana in 1954 and, as a frontrunner of the Students’ Federation and the Union of Young Communists, organized city pupil help for the revolution as a civilian whereas the Castro brothers and Che Guevara battled guerrilla battle on the entrenched American-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Mr. Alarcón graduated with a doctorate in philosophy and humanities and, at 25, was named director of the Americas division of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry. Four years later, he was appointed ambassador to the U.N., the place he additionally served as president of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
He was additionally a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party till 2013. His closest aide had been arrested and charged with spying a 12 months earlier, and he reportedly had fallen from grace as a result of he was referred to as a Fidel Castro loyalist moderately than a confidant of Raul Castro, who had assumed energy in 2008.
He was married to Margarita Perea Maza, who died in 2008. Information on survivors was not instantly obtainable.
One of Mr. Alarcón’s disciples, Deputy Foreign Minister Josefina (*84*), wrote on Twitter, “To Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, master of the diplomats of our generation, we will always keep deep respect, admiration and infinite affection.”