(Raul Got Word of Trash Talking Behind His Back)
Up until now, mystery has surrounded the sudden cabinet changes. For a split second, my optimistic brain had entertained the idea that this shift was a move towards positive change? Seems like it was just an old fashioned bust where the “Fidelista’s” were disrespecting Raul, so it was time to clean house… naturally.
Only time will tell what type of government Raul will truly construct. According to Charlie Rose’s episode tonight, the black caucus under Obama just recently visited Cuba and met with Raul. There was lots of talk about how Raul respects Obama and that he wants to meet the American President. I’ll report these talks as they occur.
But back to our original story — what sparked Raul to fire (pictured above) Perez-Roque and Lage?
(Conrado Hernández, right, Director of the Official Office for the Basque Government in Havana with Juan Jose Ibarretxe on a 2002 visit to Cuba)
Let’s begin with a Cuban named Conrado Hernández who has big fabulous parties on his property in Matanzas. Conrado served as the islands liaison between the Cuban government and business interests in the Basque region of Spain. Conrado used to invite both Perez-Roque and Lage over to the ranch. One of the times Conrado taped their conversations, some shit-talking was recorded.
On top of making “vulgar jokes” about Fidel Castro’s age and health, they made fun of Raul’s incompetence. The other guy sitting in the taped talks was Fernando Remírez de Estenoz, the head of the Cuban Communist Party’s Foreign Relations Department. The guys even dissed on Raul’s new vice president, José Ramón Machado Ventura.
(Conrado Hernández recorded Raul-dissing talks with Cuban officials during parties at his ranch in Matanzas.)
Nobody really knows why exactly the Cuban government decided to raid Conrado’s home, but the point is, they found the recordings. They also found an unauthorized diplomatic passport. According to Cuban officials, the bogus passport was given to him by Mr. Roque. The confiscated tapes were allegedly being slipped to Spain’s Intelligence Officials (the Spanish Embassy in Cuba extremely denies this).
The rest is what transpired:
• February 14th — Conrado was arrested when he was at the Havana airport. He’s been held for over a month.
• March 2 — Raul Castro announces the whole story to his office. It was a room of both “Raulistas” and “Fidelistas” and a time of reckoning between the 2 camps. According to the New York Times, after Mr. Pérez Roque got canned, there was a dramatic standing ovation (presumably from the “Fidelistas”) in the lobby when he left the building for the final time.
• March 6 — Raul calls a meeting with his top 20 Officials. Raul describes (in broad strokes) the details of the situation… and actually played parts of the tapes for those in the room, thereby consolidating the “Raulistas” into a tighter team.
In Cuba, the word “traitor”, “loyalty”, and “betrayal” are used more often than in a Sicilian mob movie. For this particular battle, it was a win for the “Raulistas” considering they had evidence in hand.
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.