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Fidel Castro has said that the two Cuban revolution-era leaders
Fidel Castro has said that the two Cuban revolution-era leaders who were "freed" from their posts as vice presidents in the Cabinet of Ministers earlier this month stepped down of their own accord.

The Official Gazette announced on Tuesday that Osmany Cienfuegos and Pedro Miret had been dropped from their posts in the Cabinet of Ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle, but no reason was given.

However, in an essay published in Cuba on Wednesday, Castro said that, "It would be unfair to say that [Miret] was dismissed...and [Cienfuegos's] workload had significantly decreased long before I became ill."

Cienfuegos, 78, is the older brother of Camilo Cienfuegos, who was one of the leaders of the 1959 revolution. An iconic figure in Cuba, he died in a plane crash the same year as the uprising that overthrew General Fulgencio Batista and transformed the Latin American island into a communist state.

Miret, 82, took part in the 1953 attack on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. He was also on board the Granma yacht which brought Castro's tiny army to Cuba from Mexico in 1956.

The news that Miret and Cienfuegos would no longer play an active role in the political life of the island was not made public when President Raul Castro announced the government reshuffle at the beginning of March. The two most notable figures to lose their positions in the March 2 shake-up were Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Cabinet chief Carlos Lage. Both men said later in official press publications that they had "made mistakes" and were stepping down.

The reshuffle, which saw a total of eight ministers replaced, was designed to improve the efficiency of the Cuban government.

Raul Castro officially became Cuba's president in February 2008 after his elder brother Fidel ceded power to him in July 2006 on health grounds.


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