Thursday, December 16, 2010

2009 confidential cable on firings of Lage, Perez Roque

This USINT cable discusses the firings of Carlos Lage and Felipe Perez Roque and says it appears that Raul Castro is consolidating his power.

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09HAVANA153 2009-03-06 19:07 2010-12-15 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL US Interests Section Havana

VZCZCXRO3789
OO RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT RUEHNG
RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHUB #0153 0651949
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061949Z MAR 09
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4203
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0035
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COGARD INTELCOORDCEN WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/NAVINTELOFC GUANTANAMO BAY CU PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 0022

C O N F I D E N T I A L HAVANA 000153

--------------------------------------------- -------
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y -- CLASSIFICATION PARA 4
--------------------------------------------- -------

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/2019
TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS PREL CU
SUBJECT: LAGE AND PEREZ ROQUE ADMIT "ERRORS" AND RESIGN ALL
POSTS; REMIREZ DE ESTENOZ OUT TOO

REF: A. HAVANA 140
¶B. HAVANA 150

Classified By: COM Jonathan Farrar for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (U) In virtually identical letters published in the
official media on March 5, former Vice President Carlos Lage
and former Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque admitted that
they had committed unspecified "errors" for which they
assumed full responsibility, and then resigned from their
remaining positions. In Lage's case this included his
position as Vice President of the Council of State, Deputy in
the National Assembly, Member of the Council of State, and
member of the Communist Party Central Committee and Political
Bureau. Perez Roque resigned from all of the same positions,
except for that of Vice President.

¶2. (U) Although there had been no official announcement of
his departure, Fernando Remirez de Estenoz, the Communist
Party chief of Foreign Relations, was replaced by the deputy
chief Jorge Marti Martinez. This news became public when the
media published a list of attendees at a meeting between
President Raul Castro and Honduran President Zelaya which
included Marti Martinez with the title of Communist Party
Chief of Foreign Relations.

¶3. (C) COMMENT: The language used by Fidel to justify the
firings of Lage and Perez Roque together with the tone of the
published resignation letters (reminiscent of similar
confessions during China's cultural revolution) have led many
observers on the island to speculate that one or both may be
brought to trial. Fidel's comments alone amount to a virtual
charge of treason against them. The departing Japanese
ambassador told COM on March 4 that changes in the foreign
policy leadership had severely damaged Tokyo's plans for
relations with Cuba as the GOJ had placed great hope in
personal relationships with Lage, Perez Roque and former
foreign trade minister De la Nuez--all now fired. Remirez de
Estenoz had come up frequently in diplomatic conversations as
a serious interlocutor who could improve Cuba's relations
with the world. He is credited by some with being the
mastermind of the GOC's very successful policy to build good
relations with the other Latin American and Caribbean
governments as a further bulwark against the U.S. These
kinds of successes, while benefiting Cuba demonstrably, may
have resulted in the downfall of their authors when they
became too closely associated with them personally.

¶4. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: The changes may also be part of the
process of preparing for the Communist Party congress,
announced for later this year but for which no date has been
set. As Raul continues to consolidate his power, there is
growing evidence that the inner circle of Castro regime is
turning further inward (and backward). A longtime (20 plus
years) local observer of Cuban politics theorized last night
to COM that the changes are meant to consolidate power and to
lateral the succession away from the Lage/Remirez de Estenoz
generation and to the military and civilian generation who
cut their teeth during the Angolan war years. Speculation
runs rampant: those few who truly know are not talking with
us or with our diplomatic colleagues. End Comment.
FARRAR

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