Raul Castro resigns as leader of the Communist Party of Cuba

In 2016, then US Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro (left)

Barack Obama and Raul Castro, then Presidents of the United States in 2016 (right)

Raul Castro says he has resigned from the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, ending his family’s 60-year power.

Castro, 89, said at a party convention that he is passing on leadership to a younger generation who are “passionate and anti-imperialist.”

His successor will be voted at the end of the four-day parliament.

This expected move ends the era of formal leadership by him and his brother Fidel Castro, which began with the 1959 Revolution.

“We enthusiastically believe in the power, exemplary nature and understanding of our compatriots,” he told Havana’s party representative on Friday.

“And as long as I live, I’m ready to step into the stirrup to protect my country, revolution, and socialism.”

Castro has not approved a successor, but it is widely believed that party leaders will be taken over by Miguel Díazcanel, who became president of the island in 2018.

Not unexpected, but not so historic

Will Grant, Correspondent of Cuba

The entire island knew this moment would come, but when it arrived it was historic or symbolic. Cuba is officially governed by someone other than Castro for the first time since 1959.

In reality, there is little change, at least in the short term.

Miguel Diaz Cannell, who became president from Raul Castro, could also succeed him as the party’s first secretary. He is likely to be forced to take further steps to liberalize Cuba’s centrally managed economy. Immediately after the end of the Cold War, it has fallen into the worst economic crisis. As a result, private farmers have recently been allowed to sell beef and dairy products. This is a product that was previously under the sole control of the state.

However, the Biden administration has shown little tendency to lift the Trump administration’s stricter sanctions on Cuba at this stage, so hopes of improving relations with the United States may have to wait.

One thing is certain: Raul Castro’s words “put one foot on the stirrup” mean he will continue to be a power broker behind the scenes. And by repeating the island’s eternal commitment to socialism, it means that political change is unlikely under his successor as much as under his brother Fidel. I will.

Raul Castro has been the party’s first secretary since taking over his brother Fidel in 2011.

Fidel Castro led the communist revolution that overthrew the Cuban government when Raul was one of the commanders in 1959.

Fidel Castro led the country until he became ill in 2006 and handed over the president to his brother in 2008. Fidel Castro died in 2016.

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