Castro Purges Party on Video

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 6:32 AM CDT
Raul Castro, right, stands with Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque during a 2007 session of the National Assembly in Havana. Roque was abruptly removed from power earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Javier Galeano, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Raul Castro firmly ratchets up his grip on power in a three-hour video being shown to Cuba's Communist Party members, the Financial Times reports. The video features scenes from a March politburo meeting during which Castro fired most of Fidel's cabinet, along with testimony from security officials. Those who have seen it say the message is plain: Raul is laying down the law and won't tolerate a hint of disloyalty.

In the video, Raul reads aloud from the confession of a trade envoy arrested for spying, and details his connections to several of Fidel's protégés. Chief among them is Raul Castellanos Lage, a former party leader accused of being part of a clique that considered Cuba's elderly leaders unfit to govern. Audience members at several screenings rose from their seats to demand the men be shot for treason, according to witnesses.