Lage served as point man for post-Soviet economic reforms and oversaw the domestic economy before he was fired from the cabinet. He was replaced by a general who was Raul's secretary of the armed forces when he was defense minister. An up-and-coming young diplomat with extensive experience in the United States and Latin America, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla was named foreign minister.
Analysts said that, along with economic motives, Raul was replacing Fidel Castro ideologues with a less confrontational and more pragmatic cadre, including the new foreign minister, and eliminating Fidel's style of shadowing the government with a second one from his office and the Council of State.
Another man closely identified with Fidel Castro for decades, Secretary of the Council of State Miguel Miyar Barruecos, was sent packing to head up the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry.
Former protege Otto Rivera, who led the fight for the return of castaway Elian Gonzalez, was fired as vice president of the Council of Ministers for the Battle of Ideas, a special Castro program that grew out of the Elian Gonzalez saga (the custody and immigration battle over a little Cuban boy in 2000), and the position was abolished.
Fidel Castro's personal secretary and a member of the Council of State, Carlos Valenciaga, who first announced to the world the iconic figure was ill, was recently sacked.
"The Raulista model is about placing competent technocrats, while the Fidelista model is more ideological-political," Frank Mora, a Cuba expert at the National War College in Washington, D.C., said.
Fidel Castro, in his essay Tuesday, called speculation he had much to do with the appointment of his cabinet, of which just a few remain, nonsense.
"I never proposed the majority of those replaced," he said. "I never dedicated my time to such matters."
He said he was consulted on all this weeks cabinet changes.