“I’m Still Standing!” (sings Ramiro Valdes)
Genuine Cuba experts know that Raul Castro and Ramiro Valdes have always been enemies, of sorts. Some of my spies tell me it started at the first skirmish after the Granma landing at Alegria del Pio. Here Raul and Fidel ran, while Ramiro fought.
Others among my sagacious and cunning henchmen inform me that it predates even that. The Moncada attack saw the same thing: Fidel and Raul hiding, the barely literate grocery clerk Ramiro Valdes fighting.
Valdes sensed who was on top, however, so Ramirito hitched his wagon to Fidel.
Whatever, he was always regarded as a Fidelista, rather than a Raulista-- a distinction that became important when Raul took the reigns. Yet as flush after flush sinks Fidelistas (Lage, Perez-Roque, Alarcon) Ramiro Valdes keeps bobbing back to the surface.
(More on this in Spanish from Cafe Fuerte here)
The barely-literate Ramiro Valdes served twice as Castro's Minister of the Interior (Secret Police Chief.) He ran Cuba's KGB and GRU-mentored repressive apparatus at a time the Castro regime jailed and tortured the most political prisoners per-capita on earth.
His deployment to Venezuela (to spy and record and threaten) seems to have kept that hapless nation in the bag for Castro.
So apparently, the KGB's star Cuban pupil--their most enthusiastic and accomplished torturer and spy--is regarded as extremely important by "pragmatic reformer" Raul Castro. So much so, that he patched up their spat.