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Old 02-19-2008, 04:05 AM   #1
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Default Fidel Castro retires

Fidel Castro retires
Reuters
Anthony Boadle
25 minutes ago



HAVANA (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Tuesday that he will not return to lead the country as president or commander-in-chief, retiring as head of state 49 years after he seized power in an armed revolution.

Castro, 81, said in a statement to the country that he would not seek a new presidential term when the National Assembly meets on February 24.

"To my dear compatriots, who gave me the immense honor in recent days of electing me a member of parliament ... I communicate to you that I will not aspire to or accept -- I repeat not aspire to or accept -- the positions of President of Council of State and Commander in Chief," Castro said in the statement published on the Web site of the Communist Party's Granma newspaper.

The National Assembly or legislature is expected to nominate his brother and designated successor Raul Castro, 76, as president in place of Castro, who has not appeared in public for almost 19 months after being stricken by an undisclosed illness.

The title of "Comandante en Jefe" or commander-in-chief, was created for him in 1958 as the leader of a guerrilla movement that swept down from the mountains of eastern Cuba to overthrow U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Castro's retirement draws the curtain on a political career that spanned the Cold War and survived U.S. enmity, CIA assassination attempts and the demise of Soviet Communism.

A charismatic leader famous for his long speeches delivered in his green military fatigues, Castro is admired in the Third World for standing up to the United States but considered by his opponents a tyrant who suppressed freedom.

His illness and departure from Cuba's helm have raised doubts about the future of the Western Hemisphere's only communist state.

"Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the process," Castro said in his statement.

"They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement," he said.

The bearded leader who took power in an armed uprising against a U.S.-backed dictator in 1959 had temporarily ceded power to his younger brother after he underwent emergency surgery to stop intestinal bleeding in mid-2006.

Castro has only been seen in pictures since then, looking gaunt and frail, though his health improved enough a year ago to allow him to keep in the public mind writing reams of articles published by Cuba's state press.

"This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the heading of 'Reflections by comrade Fidel.' It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful," Castro said.

Castro could remain politically influential as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party and elder statesman.

Raul Castro, Cuba's long-standing defense minister, has run the country since July 31, 2006 as acting president. He has raised expectations of economic reforms to improve the daily lot of Cubans, but has yet to deliver.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

it's about time.......

retire, take care of yourself, and let someone else step in
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

Too bad the country will likely continue to be run by Raul, who is just as bad
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

he's still going to be around though from what I heard on the news don't count on
him disappearing he just isn't going to be the front man.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

Good riddance. Now if we can just get rid of all of the Cubans who have infested Miami.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Good riddance. Now if we can just get rid of all of the Cubans who have infested Miami.


HTG, you have some 'splainin' to do for that remark!

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Old 02-19-2008, 04:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post


HTG, you have some 'splainin' to do for that remark!



One of the few good things to ever come out of Cuba (other than cigars):

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Old 02-19-2008, 05:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

Don't we have some old plans that we can dust off to finally put an end to this horrid dictatorship?
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

One of my professors in College was widely recognized as a leading authority on US/Latin American affairs. He met Castro several times. He referred to Fidel always as a "benevolent dictator". He was a brilliant man (my prof, not Castro), and made some compelling arguments, especially when you juxtapose his beliefs against some of the crazy antics the US pulled when they went into sheer anti-commie panic mode.

The main problem I've always had is that the Cuban people were the one's who bore the brunt of Castro's resistance and stubborness. The average Cuban, though, blames the US government and not the people of the US.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fidel Castro retires

Good Riddance Fidel. But a bad feeling Raul takes over.
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