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'Trading Castro for his brother'

Latest update : 2008-02-22

Exiled Cubans in Little Havana, Miami, are sceptical that Fidel Castro's recent resignation may herald a period of change in Cuba. Watch our feature. (Report: S. Claudet, N. Ransom)

Cuban journalist and poet Raul Rivero, a high-profile opponent of Havana's one-party regime, said Fidel Castro's decision to step down would change nothing on the island, in an article published Wednesday.
Castro's withdrawal "does not mean he will cease to control the lives and deaths of men and women of this country," he wrote in the Spanish daily El Mundo.
Rivero, who founded the independent news agency Cuba Press in 1995 and was considered one of the best poets of his generation in Cuba, was one of 75 dissidents arrested in a crackdown on the opposition by Castro in April 2003.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but was released in November, 2004 amid a rapprochement with the European Union initiated by the Socialist government in Madrid. He now lives in Spain, and is considered one of the most prominent dissidents in exile.
The ailing 81-year-old Castro announced Tuesday he was stepping down as president after almost 50 years.
His brother, Raul Castro, 76, who has served as provisional president for the last 19 months, is widely considered the likely successor.
"As long as Fidel has an ounce of lucidity, no one can take a decision or sign a decree" without going through him, said Rivero.
A similar view was expressed by Cuban novelist Zoe Valdes, who has lived in exile in Paris since 1995.
She told El Mundo that if Raul Castro becomes president it will launch the era "of Raulism, which will be the same as Castroism.
"Don't forget that Raul is like his brother, or even worse," she said.

Date created : 2008-02-21