The Cuban leader told his citizens in a statement to the Communist Party's Granma newspaper that he will not return to power as the nation's head of state, a position he has held for 49 years since taking power in an armed revolution.
After half a-century as
“I will neither aspire to, nor accept - I repeat - I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief,” he wrote in a letter published on the website of the Communist Party newspaper Granma. “It would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer,” he added, putting an end to the transition period that began July 31, 2006, when the ailing Cuban leader temporarily transferred powers to his brother Raul.
This statement comes as the name of his successor is expected to be announced on Sunday, during a session of the National Assembly. Several names are being circulated, beginning with Raul Castro. Another name being mooted is Prime Minister Carlos Lage. “If Lage were to become the next president it would suggest
FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Cuba, José Goita, emphasises that Fidel Castro did not, in his message, specifically designate his brother for the position. Indeed, he evoked “cadres from the old guard” who “have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement,” without naming any person in particular.
“Soldier of ideas”
The news of Castro’s retirement from politics broke in the middle of the night in
In his message on the website, Castro wrote: “My first duty was to prepare our people both politically and psychologically for my absence after so many years of struggle,” Castro wrote. “My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath. That’s all I can offer.”
“It will be a genuinely sad moment for many Cubans,” says Parsons. “In
“It is obviously a good thing,” adds Reed Brody, a Brussels-based Human Rights Watch lawyer. “49 years is quite long enough for any one person to remain in power. It is time for a change.”
As for the question of human rights in
Castro wrote that he intends to "fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas,” adding: “I shall continue to write under the heading ‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful.” The Lider Máximo thus becomes again a “simple” comrade.
Date created : 2008-02-19