They were making a movie.
Two movies, actually, one three hours long and one six hours long, covering the demise of Lage, Perez Roque, party international relations chief Fernando Remirez, Otto Rivero, an official who was responsible for the Fidel initiative called the “Battle of Ideas,” and Carlos Valenciaga, a member of the Council of State and private secretary to Fidel Castro.
The movies haven’t been released, but they were covered in Spanish-language newspapers, whose
Among the many details in the video, according to the reports:
- Two key figures, both now under arrest, are Conrado Hernandez, a Cuban national who represented Basque businesses in
, hosted Lage and Perez Roque at his Cuba farm where their talks were recorded, and admits on tape that he had worked with Spanish intelligence; and Raul Castellanos Lage, a physician and cousin of Carlos Lage. Matanzas
- Castellanos is captured on tape saying it would have been “a service to la patria” if Vice President Machado Ventura had been allowed to die when he was treated for heart problems.
- Raul Castro confronted Lage, Perez Roque, Rivero, and Remirez with accusations at a March 2 Political Bureau meeting, portions of which are included in the video. Twenty members are present, but only Raul questions the four. He asks about favors given to Hernandez; Lage ordered that a river be diverted at Hernandez’ farm, and Perez Roque gave him a diplomatic passport.
- On February 23, 2008, the day before the National Assembly formally elected Raul Castro president and Machado Ventura first vice president, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party met to make the nominations. All in attendance, including Lage, were told to keep the nominations secret. Lage went from the meeting to a party on the rooftop terrace of the Ambos Mundos hotel, which was ostensibly to celebrate the wedding of Castellanos to the woman with whom he had been living for a decade, but in reality was to celebrate Lage’s nomination to the post of first vice president. A disappointed Lage broke the secret to those in attendance. Later he used a relief pitcher’s metaphor when he told Valenciaga by phone, “They didn’t hand me the ball.” Raul Castro described the scene, saying that what was to be a party “changed to an atmosphere of mourning.” Perez Roque was furious, and vowed to oppose Machado’s nomination in the National Assembly the next day, which he did not do.
- Conrado Hernandez left the party and informed Spanish contacts of the Machado nomination. The result is that
knew of Machado’s selection before the National Assembly received the nomination or acted on it. Madrid
- In September 2006, Carlos Valenciaga held a raucous birthday party in the same Council of State building where Fidel Castro was living through the worst of his illness, “between life and death,” according to Raul.
A viewer told El Pais that the video has two objectives: to expose espionage, and to demonstrate that the accused “were disloyal, permitted abuses, and nurtured ambitions of power.” The government and party seem to be betting that viewers will absorb that message and agree with the removal of Lage, Perez Roque, and Remirez, rather than identify with the disappointment that these elites of