HAVANA, CUBA (AP):
Eloy Gutierrez-Menoyo, who went from rebel commander fighting alongside Fidel Castro to a foe launching commando raids against the island before settling inside Cuba as a moderate, pro-dialogue dissident, died early Friday.
He was 77. Gutierrez-Menoyo died of a heart attack at 5:30 a.m. at a Havana hospital, his wife Flor Ester Torres Sanabria told The Associated Press.
Funeral plans were not yet known. Gutierrez-Menoyo had lived permanently in Cuba since August 2003, after visiting the island during a family vacation and deciding to stay for good.
Cuban authorities allowed him to remain despite his frequent criticisms of the government, but his immigration status was apparently never resolved.
The tall, slender man with long, wispy white hair and wire-framed spectacles had hoped to open an office on the island of his Cambio Cubano movement – but the dream was never realized.
Nearly blind and hard of hearing, Gutierrez-Menoyo was seen occasionally in Havana at meetings involving moderate Cuban exiles.
Until his health began to fail him in 2010, Gutierrez-Menoyo frequently spoke out against the communist government, but in measured tones that kept him out of jail.
After Fidel Castro retired due to ill health in February 2008 and his brother Raul formally replaced him as president, Gutierrez-Menoyo expressed disappointment that Cuba’s communist system remained unchanged.