When Raúl Castro became president of Cuba in his own right in 2008, he replaced most of his brother Fidel's cabinet with ministers of his own choosing. In March 2009, he announced a sweeping reorganization of the government bureaucracy, replacing nine veteran ministers and firing Fidel's proteges, Carlos Lage, the de facto prime minister, and Felipe Pérez-Roque, the foreign minister. By 2012, across 26 ministries, only three of Fidel's appointees were still in office. Raúl's new ministers came from the ranks of experienced professionals, a number of them from the armed forces.

Today, eight ministries are led by career military officers, three of whom are still on active duty. Of the 10 vice-presidents of the Council of Ministers, five are active-duty or former career military officers, not counting Raúl himself. Of the 13 members of the Political Bureau of the Cuban Communist Party, four are active-duty generals and another is retired military, again not counting Raúl....

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