Yesterday, Fernando Remirez de Estenoz, was let go as head of the Cuban Communist Party's Foreign Relations Department.
The ouster of Fidel's guys, in my view, only furthers the notion that Raul is firmly behind Cuba's helm, as I've been saying for quite some time.
I think some of the recently announced changes are for streamlining purposes, like the consolidation of some ministries. But for the most part, I would qualify these changes of personnel as the personal preferences of Raul solely to further surround himself with his people.
Of the people he has promoted the past two weeks, three have been from the Secretariat: Jorge Luis Sierra, María del Carmen Concepción González, Lina Pedraza Rodríguez. In addition to these Party officials, Raul also promoted 2 generals, general de brigada Salvador Pardo Cruz and general de brigada José Amado Ricardo Guerra.
Raul is bringing in the guns and the Party, neither of which is a surprise. The military is Cuba's strongest and most respected institution and Raul has worked closely and developed trust with those in its ranks. He has also worked closely with the Party and has established trust with many in its leadership.
The military runs the economy. It has the guns and provides the butter...Raul needs the military firmly behind him, it's the only institution that can prevent him from falling after his Vodka benders, but that's neither here nor there.
So long as he has the military's complete loyalty, Raul does not need the people's support or approval, neither of which he has.