Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Going, going, gone?

More than 18 months after being forced to stand aside "temporarily" due to serious ill health, Fidel Castro has just announced that he is not coming back. Or so it seems.

In a lenghty, front-page "editorial" published by the regime's official propaganda sheet, Granma, the ailing 81-year-old dictator has confirmed that he will not stand again for the positions of president of the Council of State and Commander in Chief.

No word, however, on whether he will remain as head of the Communist Party.

And surprisingly, at first read at least, no clear endorsement of Raul Castro, the 75-year-old younger brother and designated successor who has been acting president since July last year.

As for Castro's future, well, he is threatening to stick around a little bit longer, if only on the pages of Granma.

"This is not my farewell to you," he writes. "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 companero Fidel.’ It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful."

We shall see.


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