http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/lage-and-perez-roque-on-video-seduced-by-the-honey-of-power/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Lage and Perez Roque on video seduced by the “honey of power”

Posted May 23, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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BY WILFREDO CANCIO ISLA | El Nuevo Herald

An official video that presents the reasons for the ouster of Vice President Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque has been shown for the past several weeks to selected groups of Cuba’s ruling elite, according to information received by El Nuevo Herald from Havana.

The showings began in mid-April before a small group of high-ranking officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as top-level government and Communist Party leaders, sources linked to government circles said.

‘‘There is total hermetism regarding these viewings. It is said that, for the time being, the high-level people are being summoned in small groups to watch the material in a room in the Central Committee building,’’ said a source who asked for anonymity. ``Controls are very strict.’‘

TWO VERSIONS

The video is shown in two versions: one lasting almost three hours, the other, seven. Both contain compromising images and statements made by Lage and Pérez Roque about retired leader Fidel Castro, current President Raúl Castro and First Vice President José Ramón Machado Ventura, according to those familiar with the footage.

Both versions show conversations between Lage and Pérez Roque in which they make jokes about Fidel Castro’s infirmities and his years in power, and question Raúl Castro’s ability to govern the country.

In a recording made presumably after the installation of a new Council of State, on Feb. 24, 2008, critical comments are heard about Machado Ventura’s appointment as First Vice President. In the recording, he is alluded to as ``the man with the hairpiece.’‘

The video also shows excerpts from a meeting of the Political Bureau at which Raúl Castro flails the behavior of Lage and Pérez Roque.

‘In the video, Raúl Castro says he invited Jaime Crombet [vice president of Parliament] to listen to what `his son-in-law’ said about the Comandante [Fidel Castro] and the country’s historic leadership,’’ one of the sources told El Nuevo Herald. Crombet, a veteran revolutionary leader, is the father of Tania Crombet, Pérez Roque’s wife.

COUNTRY RESIDENCE

Everything indicates that most of the recordings were made in the country residence of Cuban businessman Conrado Hernández, who represents Basque commercial interests on the island and has been a friend of Lage since childhood. The house—known as ‘‘la finca’’—is near Arcos de Canasí, about 37 miles east of Havana. Lage and Pérez Roque went there often for parties, domino games and relaxation.

Apparently, Hernández decided to record the informal chats between Lage and Pérez Roque to deliver ‘‘evidence’’ to Spanish intelligence about the way of thinking of the new generation of Cuban leaders and the impending political changes.

ARREST MADE

But there are strong indications that Cuba’s military counterintelligence had been doing the same for months and proceeded to act before Hernández could get away.

Hernández, a representative of the Basque Society for Industrial Promotion and Reconversion (SPRI), was arrested on Feb. 14 at Havana’s international airport as he prepared to leave with his wife to Bilbao, Spain. On Feb. 27, the SPRI’s office in Havana was raided by the police.

Barely 72 hours after the raid, on March 3, an Official Note from the Council of State announced that Lage and Pérez Roque had been ‘‘liberated’’ from their posts, without explaining the reasons for the removal. In an article published later in the official media, Fidel Castro called them ‘‘unworthy’’ and said ‘‘the honey of power’’ awakened in them ambitions that filled the enemies of Cuba with hope.

Lage and Pérez Roque recognized their errors publicly in letters published in the Cuban press. Since then, their whereabouts are unknown. There is an unofficial report that Lage was offered a post in a public health service but didn’t accept it.

Member Comments

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On May 23, 2009, publisher wrote:

We do not have the video. As you would imagine it is property of the Cuban government and will only be released to the public if they want to release it.

Interesting the the video is 3 hours or 7 hours.

I guess Fidel and Raul really need to prove to all their underlings that they need to shut and listen to ALL orders from Fidel and Raul and to NEVER expect to be (s)elected as President.

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On May 23, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

They show the videos to the goverment elite and later to middle ranked executives, so they all would know what can happen to whoever goes against the current. No matter how high you are you can felt down in matter of seconds if you choose the wrong path or simply make a wrong comment.

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On May 24, 2009, grant wrote:

Such is life in politics, in any country.

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On May 24, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Hey Grant when you say any country by any chance you mean Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe and the same???
I probably agree with you. However if you mean USA, Canada, UK, France…..then you should open your eyes and senses a little bit.

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On May 24, 2009, HavanAndrew wrote:

Cheers to Carlos Lage and Felipe Pérez Roque. The Castros deserve zero respect at this point and the silence of Lage and Roque will speak volumes to the citizens of Cuba. Hush, the quiet re-revolution has started. LIBERTAD, LAGE and ROQUE! Let Lage and Roque address the United Nations.

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On May 25, 2009, paul wrote:

Nothing special.


That society runs like the military in any part of the world. Obey or face reprimand.

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On May 25, 2009, publisher wrote:

Latell Report

  It is no easier today than it was fifty years ago to gauge the state of play within the Cuban nomenclatura. In fact it is now even more difficult to assess how decisions are being made, how power is shared and delegated, and who in the leadership tiers below the Castro brothers may be rising or falling in influence. Yet there are numerous reasons to postulate that tensions are greater now than at any time since the Ochoa-de la Guardia purges of 1989.

    Most importantly, confusion may well be rampant about Fidel Castro’s evolving role. Almost three years since surrendering Cuba’s presidency—but not his position as Communist Party First Secretary—he has reasserted some of his historic decision making prerogatives. His health has apparently improved and with it perhaps his dissatisfaction with the quality of leadership that his brother Raul, Cuba’s president since February 2008, has been providing.

    Fidel recently overruled Raul by repeatedly expressing intransigent positions regarding the prospects for improving relations with the United States. In numerous commentaries, or “reflections” as he and the Cuban government prefer to describe them, he has insistently voiced strident anti-American views that are rarely repeated with the same acidic spins by other Cuban officials. It seems reasonable to speculate, therefore, that Fidel may be at odds with policy prescriptions developed within the leadership since Raul’s assumed the presidency. Yet, Fidel’s manifestos, now emanating almost daily from his convalescent quarters, carry enormous weight and have never been contradicted or repudiated.

    Remaining unseen and unheard in any public venues, Fidel’s new prominence must be sowing confusion and resentment among government and party leaders, especially those responsible for foreign policy. He embarrassed Raul during the visit earlier this year of Chilean president Bachelet by publicly advocating positions at odds with longstanding Cuban government policy. In a steady stream of commentaries—all but a few concerned with Cuba’s international relations—Fidel has made clear that he is once again the ultimate arbiter in this area of policy making. His musings are prominently played by all the major Cuban media and are carefully studied and parsed by officials throughout the leadership. And as Fidel’s directorial role has expanded, the contours of Cuban policy in such critical areas as relations with the United States have become unusually clouded.

    The dismissal in March of foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque, one of Fidel’s previously most loyal acolytes, surely also heightened leadership tensions, especially since two other long-prominent officials were disgraced simultaneously. Former vice-president Carlos Lage’s dismissal was not as surprising as Perez Roque’s, however, because he had been passed over in February 2008 for higher office and in the year that followed his visibility had been steadily declining. It seems that his dismissal had been in the cards for some time. But, Perez Roque’s fall was sudden and unexpected. Just days after the axe fell he had been scheduled to depart for Japan at the head of an official Cuban mission to discuss technical cooperation. So perhaps even he had no inkling of what was about to befall him.

    Fidel’s involvement in these dismissals—perhaps his insistence that they be carried out summarily—is suggested by the language he unleashed against them in one of his reflections. Lage and Perez Roque had been “seduced by the honey of power” he wrote. The vitriol was characteristic of the brutal way in which Fidel had disgraced scores of other top officials in the past.

    All this suggested that the former foreign minister had somehow betrayed his master and that the decision to fire him was mainly Fidel’s, and that it was executed swiftly and mercilessly. Since then, Bruno Rodriguez, the new foreign minister, has basked in Fidel’s approval. He was singled out for praise in Fidel’s reflection of May 2. And to be sure there was no confusion in leadership ranks about his new preeminent role, Fidel noted that “at our request” (reverting to the use of the royal pronoun he so commonly employed in the past) Rodriguez had provided him support. There was no mention of Raúl in this context.

    Meanwhile, hints gleaned from remarks by the Castro brothers in recent months may have elevated concerns in the nomenclatura that Fidel plans to retain his position at the top of the communist party hierarchy and to use it as a cudgel to impose his will. Raul told actor Sean Penn last October that he continued even after assuming the presidency to work from his old office. And he added that “In Fidel’s office, nothing has been touched.”

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On June 07, 2009, Arsis de la Noix wrote:

The system will topple.  It is a corrupt system that must be torn apart.  CUBA must not continue in chains.

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On June 29, 2009, abreu wrote:

In a few days, somebody will have a video. I know that, but listen, those guys use to be the same. Doing the same. Traying to be the same. Following orders to continue receiving from the government. I can asure you they won’t be the better solution for Cuba.

I remember my times in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when Felipe use to show him as a convinced revolutionary and as a convinced love of Fidel Castro.

Every day he used to leave the MFF betwen 2 or 3 pm and go to Central Commitee to work there until morning. That was what he was trying to show us. Instead, he was doing (also with Lage) different things. Was spending good times in a village. That’s one of a reasons they look in good shape. They never know the special period in Cuba, when people (me included) were trying to survive without food, without transportation, without power.

They were deeply strong with anybody who doesn’t follow the rules (the orders).

What is happening now is that the government (Fidel, Raul, etc) need to show them as a traitors, but they don’t recognize that they use to do the same (meaning the good life the spend in Cuba).

If they (Lage and Felipe) wanted to change the things in Cuba, that wasn’t the way. They were the same, and they don’t deserve any respect from Cuban.

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On June 29, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Completely agree. Sadly even when we now feel sorry for Lage and/or Perez Roque the fact is that prior to being removed from their government positions they both were Castro’s top and louder speakers. Even if they were not in line with Castro thinking as it looks now, the fact and the matter is that they were dancing and following the music around. Cubans never perceived any signs that they were trying to reform anything, on the contrary they both sounded the most extremists all the way.

They both were inflexible as good communists, the best students of the “inflexible in chief”, they punished several medium and high level government executives for small mistakes and send hundreds of them to what they have been sent now ….PLAN PAJAMA.

Remember that when Robaina was demoted, and Perez Roque got his job he was lauded by Raul as…. “Perez Roque is the person that better understand Fidel (Castro)” ……Not really sure if that counts now.

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On July 15, 2009, publisher wrote:

The video is being shown to hundreds of Communist party members in Cuba this summer as Marc Frank reports from Cuba.