In 1989, then-Defense (MINFAR) Minister Raul Castro led an operation to purge the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and its lucrative commercial enterprises (e.g. CIMEX).
It resulted in the execution of three senior officials -- including Cuba's most famous officer, General Arnaldo Ochoa -- and the arrest of the Minister of the Interior (who died of a "heart attack" in prison), Jose Abrantes.
They were officially charged with serious acts of corruption, dishonest use of economic resources and abetting drug trafficking.
But in reality -- the operation was designed to centralize all of the island's armed and economic forces under Raul's MINFAR.
Despite this, the Financial Times's Marc Frank writes about Raul's latest "anti-corruption" crackdown:
The crackdown, launched two years ago, has already cost hundreds of senior Cuban Communist party officials, state managers and employees their jobs and sometimes their freedom, as Mr. Castro has struggled to shake-up the country's entrenched bureaucracy and move the country towards a less centralized and more market-driven economy.
Although such campaigns are not new, the intensity of the current drive is unprecedented, as are the number of high level targets and breadth of their illicit activities, Communist party and government insiders said this week.
"Move the country toward a less centralized economy"?
Meanwhile, The Miami Herald's Frances Robles says, this "show[s] how Raul Castro wasn't just paying lip service to cracking down on corruption."
So how do you fight corruption from within a corrupt regime?
Just like in the past -- against even more powerful and senior officials than today (note to Marc Frank) -- the recent purges are simply an attempt to weed-out disloyal regime officials, who are stealing from the Castro brother's totalitarian monopolies.
Thus, the purpose is to further centralize economic power amongst those most loyal to the Castro brothers -- to get rid of the crooks who are stealing from the thieves.
It's Castro's full circle of corruption.
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