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Raul Castro reportedly replaces two Fidel loyalists with younger leaders

By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 8:44 PM EDT, Thu March 22, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cuban President Raul Castro replaces two longtime officials loyal to his brother Fidel
  • Removed is Jose Ramon Fernandez Alvarez, who led military forces in winning Bay of Pigs
  • Also out is Jose M. Miyar Barrueco, who was Fidel Castro's personal secretary

(CNN) -- Cuba President Raul Castro removed two longtime government leaders loyal to his brother Fidel and promoted younger technocrats, according to state-run media and a U.S. analyst.

The communist government's state council announced Thursday the removal of Jose Ramon Fernandez Alvarez as vice president of the council of ministers, according to state-run Granma.

Fernandez, who is in his 80s, was the U.S.-trained head of the Cuban military force that defeated the U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs, said CNN analyst Carlos Alberto Montaner.

Also removed from office was Jose M. Miyar Barrueco, who was minister of science, technology and environment, Granma reported.

Miyar is considered the last Fidelista -- or loyalist to former Cuban president Fidel Castro -- in Raul Castro's government, Montaner said. Miyar was Fidel Castro's personal secretary, Montaner said.

"Publicly, Raul did not feel too comfortable with Miyar," Montaner said. "Raul is completing the government with people who are close to him."

Fernadnez and Miyar were assigned to other government posts, Granma said.

Replacing Fernandez is Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, an engineer in his early 50s who comes from the Communist youth party, Montaner said.

Diaz-Canel who, was minister of higher education, Granma said, was replaced by First Deputy Minister Rodolfo Alarcon Ortiz, Granma said.

As president, Raul Castro has been creating a communist government of technocrats rather than political leaders, Montaner said.

Raul Castro replaced his brother, who was battling health problems, as president in 2008.

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