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Fidel Castro: Two Top Officials Undone by 'Honey of Power'


Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says he was consulted on leadership changes in brother Raul Castro's government, and two top officials replaced on Monday were seduced by what he calls the "honey of power".

In an article published Tuesday on a government Web site, Fidel Castro said the two officials took on an "unworthy role" that gave hope to the country's enemies. The former president did not identify the officials, but media accounts have focused on former Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and former Cabinet chief Carlos Lage.

Perez Roque and Lage were younger than many others in Raul Castro's ruling circle. Although Lage lost his job as Cabinet chief, he apparently retains his position as a vice president on the policy-making Council of State. Perez Roque once served as Fidel Castro's personal secretary.

Perez Roque and Lage were among 10 government officials removed in the personnel shakeup.

Fidel Castro dismissed suggestions that the changes showed a shift from "Fidel's men" to "Raul's men." Raul Castro has said the changes were intended to make Cuba's government more compact and functional. He formally took power on February 24, 2008.

A U.S. State Department spokesman, Gordon Duguid, said Tuesday the department was monitoring Cuba's political shakeup closely, but refused to elaborate.

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama vowed to ease restrictions on Cuban-Americans traveling to the island and sending money to relatives there. President Obama has also said he would be willing to speak with Cuba's leaders but that he would maintain the long-standing embargo as leverage to push for democratic change on the island. Raul Castro has said he is open to talks with Mr. Obama.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered a review of U.S. policies toward Cuba.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.


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