Cuban TV is reporting that Felipe Perez Roque, Cuba’s foreign minister, and Carlos Lage a long time functionary of the castro regime have been relieved of duty.
More as we get it.
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba abruptly replaced some of its most powerful and visible officials on Monday, including Vice President Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.
The surprise shakeup, involving about 10 top officials, was announced at the end of the midday newscast by Cuba’s supreme governing body, the Council of State.
Among others replaced is Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez.
Lage, 57, was one of five vice presidents below Raul Castro and had served as a de-facto prime minister. He was credited with helping save Cuba’s economy by designing modest economic reforms after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Perez Roque, 43, was previously personal secretary to Fidel Castro and a former leader of the Communist Party youth organization. He had been foreign minister for almost a decade.
It’s hard to judge what these moves mean. Lage has generally been touted as a reformer and possible future Gorbachev figure once the old farts were out of the way. Removing him can signal that they are cracking down, not loosening up. Perez Roque has always been a dutiful stooge of the regime.
Another reading is that these were fidel’s guys. raul seems more comfortable with being surrounded by generals. There are raulista and fidelista factions within the regime and this may be a move toward consolidating power among the raulistas.
Could fidel have finally kicked it paving the way for a true raulista regime? Who knows?
Lage will be replaced by military Gen. José Amado Ricardo Guerra, while deputy foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez will assume Pérez Roque’s post, according to the announcement read on Cuban television as part of the midday newscast…
”This is big — and big in the wrong direction,” said Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the University of Miami’s Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies.
Translated from official Cuban news rag Juventud Rebelde:
Institutionalization is one of the pillars that lends invulnerability to the revolution in the political arena, we must work constantly on its improvement.
Do not ever believe that what we have done is perfect. With regards to the above, it has been agreed upon that there is a need to continue to study the current structure of government with the aim of gradually reducing its size and raise its effectiveness.
Really hard to interpret that. Did the people removed from their offices impair the “institutionalization” of the Revolution (translation: they got too big for their britches)?
It’s also curious that Cuba aims to “reduce the size” of its government at the same time
raising its effectiveness”. Not bad advice for our leaders in Washington but hardly credible coming from castro’s Cuba.