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Headline: Fidel Castro Resigns as President of Cuba

Fidel Castro, 81, this morning ended one of the longest tenures as one of the most well-known communist heads of state.

Citing ill health, Castro said in a letter to the nation posted on the Granma website:

“I will not aspire to neither will I accept — I repeat I will not aspire to neither will I accept — the position of President of the Council of State and Commander in chief."

"It would betray my conscience to occupy a responsibility that requires mobility and the total commitment that I am not in the physical condition to offer.”

Hearing the news of Castro's retirement while on his trip through Africa, President Bush said, “The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty,” adding that this is a new beginning and chance for a democratic transition.

As one known for his omnipresent military-garb, Castro added in the letter, "“I am not saying goodbye to you. I only wish to fight as a soldier of ideas.”

For more about the history of Castro's time in office,


Castro grasped power in January 1959 after waging a hard-fought guerrilla war against the dictator Fulgencio Batista. He promised to reinstate the Cuban constitution, then hold elections.

Soon after assuming power, he shunned those democratic ideals and fostered a totalitarian brand of communism. He allied Cuba with the Soviet Union, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war in the Fall of 1962. This happened by allowing Russia to build missile launching sites fewer than 100 miles from American shores.

He's a colorful leader to be sure. What do you think will happen in Cuba now? Will they move toward democracy, or is the United States misguided in thinking that democracy is right for every country?


Join The Conversation
nikkie45 nikkie45 9 years
he "resigned" at 3am est. i seriously doubt that castro is still alive.
Advah Advah 9 years
President Bush said, “The United States will help the people of Cuba realize the blessings of liberty.” This made me chuckle. Iraq, anyone?
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
Marci- The only problem is that Cubans did revolt, and they chose Castro and Communism!
Marci Marci 9 years
This is the time for Cubans to rise up and revolt against communism. They get told what jobs they'll have and can't even travel in their own country, never mind out of the country. Italy is always overthrowing their government, so the Cubans can do it, too.
Petronella Petronella 9 years
I also don't think nothing will change. At least until Fidel is alive. He resigned oficially is power now but the reality is that he is not encharge for a long time, is brother is, so the announcement is not going to change anything.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Yeah, nothing will change.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
lol caterpillar, dictators live for a ver very long time, it's like they live just to keep millions in misery. Mugabe is older than Fidel and he shows no signs of slowing down at all, the man wakes up at 4am for yoga for crying out loud.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Raul is 76! cmon Cuba, there has to be some younger dictators living there! spike his mylanta and lets see some Cuban Hotness
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
You are correct, Kia. It will, but only for so long. These men are relics, as outdated as the embargo, and as they die off, the people will have to take control of their country's destiny. I just hope they do so without outside "assistance", and are allowed to act autonomously.
kia kia 9 years
His brother, Raul, will be appointed president officially in the next few days and Cuba will carry on just like it has for the last 18 months with Fidel in the background.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Congrats to Cuba!
divinelight divinelight 9 years
I doubt there will be any move toward democracy. Castro will just appoint someone to take his place.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
It was bound to happen at some point. Perhaps soon, or now, the long standing embargo will be lifted and Cubans can work autonomously to create the government and society they envision as being beneficial to their country. Viva!
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