Viewing cable 07HAVANA317, CUBAN REGIME REMOVES JUSTICE MINISTER
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|07HAVANA317||2007-03-30 16:04||2011-01-22 21:09||CONFIDENTIAL||US Interests Section Havana|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L HAVANA 000317 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2017 TAGS: PGOV CU SUBJECT: CUBAN REGIME REMOVES JUSTICE MINISTER Classified By: COM Michael E. Parmly; Reasons 1.4 (b/d) ¶1. (U) Cuban official media announced March 24 that Justice Minister Roberto Diaz Sotolongo would be replaced by Vice Minister Maria Esther Reus. Additionally, Water Resources Institute Director Jorge Luis Aspiolea would be replaced by his deputy, Rene Mesa. ¶2. (U) Although the regime's public announcement gave no reasons, an independent journalist posted a story claiming that Sotolongo was involved in corruption regarding fees for illegal internet accounts, and that one of his subordinates was caught over a year ago trying to leave the Cuba illegally with 25 thousand dollars. This same story reports that Maria Esther Reus has a background dealing with corruption cases and is a confidant of Raul Castro. Former GOC official Jesus Marzo Fernandez, on the March 29 Miami-based TV show "Polos Opuestos," said that Sotolongo was up to his ears in corruption. ¶3. (C) USINT's American Citizens Services Officer learned from an American Citizen XXXXXXXXXXXX that Sotolongo and Aspiolea have been in the Villa Marista Detention Center in Havana since February. According to this source, Sotolongo's detention/removal is related to his involvement in migrant smuggling. ¶4. (C) Comment: Cuba's justice system is characterized by corruption and subservience to political dictates. That someone would be removed for corruption is usually an indication that the individual's misdeeds were not fully coordinated in advance, and the profits not shared enough with the Castros. The regime is, in public, "shocked" that corruption might be going on in its midst. PARMLY