Arrests seen as move on Cuba's Alarcon

June 7, 2012 at 6:02 PM

HAVANA, June 7 (UPI) -- The arrest of a top aide to the head of Cuba's Parliament could be the result of an internal power struggle, political observers said.

Miguel Alvarez and his wife, Mercedes Arce, have been in jail since early March in what is officially being termed a corruption investigation; however, at least one colleague of Alvarez told El Nuevo Herald the arrests were more likely part of a move to unseat Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon.

"I don't believe the target is Miguel or Mercedes. I believe this has a political objective, which is Alarcon," said the colleague, whose name was not published.

Alarcon, 75, is considered one of Cuba's most powerful individuals, El Nuevo Herald said. Alvarez was his right-hand man. Both Alvarez and Arce previously worked for Cuban intelligence.

Alarcon has a long career in Cuban politics but is not considered to be close to Fidel Castro's brother, Raul, who was elevated to the leadership of Cuba in 2006.

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