Monday, March 2, 2009
U.S.-Cuba rapproachment looks nearer
Today's shakeup of Cuba's government by President Raul Castro should make it easier for the impending settlement with the United States. Castro, the brother of longtime president Fidel Castro, replaced eight ministers on Monday in his most decisive move since assuming the presidency a year ago, according to the Reuters international news service. The government said the move was made to improve efficiency, but it seemed more like a consolidation of power by Castro, who removed two prominent younger ministers who could have been seen as rivals, Reuters said. Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, 43, and Chief Cabinet Minister Carlos Lage, 57, were the most prominent ministers replaced Monday, Reuters said. Lage was considered an economic reformer who led a host of economic changes that helped the tiny island nation survive the collapse of the Soviet Union, its chief benefactor. Castro also replaced Perez Roque, Fidel Castro's former personal secretary and a strong proponent of Cuban socialism. Roque had recently spoken positively about prospects for improved relations with the United States under the Obama administration.