Fidel Castro's Brother Raul Steps Down in Cuba

Politics | April 17, 2021, Saturday // 11:23
Bulgaria: Fidel Castro's Brother Raul Steps Down in Cuba

Raul Castro confirmed he was handing over the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party to a younger generation at its congress that kicked off on Friday, ending six decades of rule by himself and older brother Fidel.

In a speech opening the four-day event, Castro, 89, said the new leadership would be party loyalists with decades of experience working their way up the ranks and were "full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit."

Castro had said at the previous party congress in 2016 it would be the last one led by the "historic generation" who fought in the Sierra Maestra to topple a U.S.-backed dictator in the 1959 leftist revolution.

He already handed over the presidency in 2018 to protege Miguel Diaz-Canel, 60, who ran the party in two provinces before joining the national government.

 The new generation of leaders, which did not forge itself through rebellion, has no easy task. The transition comes as Cuba faces the worst economic crisis since the collapse of former benefactor the Soviet Union, while there are signs of growing frustration, especially among younger Cubans.

Castro himself became acting president when Fidel fell ill in 2006 and later in 2011 party leader, launching a raft of social and economic reforms to open up one of the world's last Communist-run countries that later stalled.

Castro's olive green military fatigues contrasted with the civil outfit of his expected successor, who is widely expected to succeed him as party first secretary, the most powerful position in Cuba's one-party system.

Older Cubans said they would miss having a Castro at the helm, although most acknowledged it was time to pass on the baton.

Castro denounced renewed U.S. hostility under former President Donald Trump. Incumbent President Joe Biden has vowed to roll back some of Trump’s sanctions, although the White House said on Friday a shift in Cuba policy was not among his top foreign policy priorities./reuters

 

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