HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) — Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba’s military Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma.
The resignation ends nearly a half-century of iron-fisted rule that inspired revolutionaries but frustrated 10 U.S. presidents.
Castro revealed his plans without notice by publishing a letter in the middle of the night in state-run newspaper Granma.
“I will not aspire to, nor will I accept the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief,” Castro wrote. “I wish only to fight as a soldier of ideas. … Perhaps my voice will be heard.”
President Bush said Castro’s decision ought to spark “a democratic transition” for Cuba.
“The international community should work with the Cuban people to begin to build institutions that are necessary for democracy and eventually this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections,” Bush said Tuesday in Rwanda, where he is visiting during a five-nation African tour. “The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty.”
Castro received treatment for intestinal problems two years ago and cited his “critical health condition” in the letter published Tuesday. He said “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 also said he realized that he had a duty to prepare Cubans for his absence.
“My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath,” he said. “That’s all I can offer.”
Cuba’s leaders plan to elect a president within days. Castro’s brother, RaÃºl, the country’s defense minister, has been named publicly as his successor.
We’re going to hear hopes that this is the beginning of change in Cuba. We’re going to hear arguments for the lifting of the embargo. We’re going to hear wishy washy eulogies and praise for the bearded bastard. We’re gonna hear a lot of crap today and in the next few days. Cuba experts will be coming out of the woodwork with their own particular theories and there will most certainly be editorials galore.
A commenter said it best in this post:
“Much ado about nothing. What does this change? Nothing. Cubans are still oppressed, the island is still a hell hole and the man in command still bears the last name (c)astro. All this means nothing.”
I wholeheartedly agree. This changes absolutely nada. For all intents and purposes, for the past year or two, fidel castro has been but a blurb in the book of Cuba’s political leadership. The man who held the world in terror in the sixties reduced to writing editorials for a mouthpiece “newspaper.”
Cuba’s prisons are still rife with prisoners of conscience. Ordinary Cuban’s are still subjected to Cuba’s system of apartheid. Dissidents are still being round up and harrassed. The UN Declaration on Human Rights remains taboo on the island.
There is going to be much ado about new “freedoms” in Cuba and “changes” in policy and what not. Some are going to point to these as proof of raul’s willingness for change. But, you know what? Freedom doesnt come piecemeal. The few crumbs this “new and improved” castro regime will toss down to the Cuban people will do little to stay any true hunger for freedom.
The day there is real change in Cuba – and not a carefully choreographed one – will be the day when every single Cuban on the island is allowed to know who Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet is. When every Cuban is allowed to know exactly and truthfully why he, and so many like him, have been rotting away in putrid jail cells for years.
For fifty years, the Cuban people have been physically, mentally, spiritually, ideologically, culturally and emotionally emasculated. Today’s news is just another snip in a surreptitiously planned and meticulously orchestrated surgery.