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Video shows reason for ouster of two top Cuban officials

An official video that presents the reasons for the ouster of Vice President Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque has been shown for the past several weeks to selected groups of Cuba's ruling elite, according to information received by El Nuevo Herald from Havana.

The showings began in mid-April before a small group of high-ranking officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as top-level government and Communist Party leaders, sources linked to government circles said.

"There is total hermetism regarding these viewings. It is said that, for the time being, the high-level people are being summoned in small groups to watch the material in a room in the Central Committee building," said a source who asked for anonymity. "Controls are very strict."

The video is shown in two versions: one lasting almost three hours, the other, seven. Both contain compromising images and statements made by Lage and Perez Roque about retired leader Fidel Castro, current President Raul Castro and First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, according to those familiar with the footage.

Both versions show conversations between Lage and Perez Roque in which they make jokes about Fidel Castro's infirmities and his years in power, and question Raul Castro's ability to govern the country.

In a recording made presumably after the installation of a new Council of State, on Feb. 24, 2008, critical comments are heard about Machado Ventura's appointment as First Vice President. In the recording, he is alluded to as "the man with the hairpiece."

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