Fidel Castro resigns from Cuba party leadership

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 12:12

Havana: Fidel Castro confirmed he had
resigned from the top leadership of the Cuba Communist Party in an article published Tuesday, after the party approved a raft of economic reforms.

"Raul knew that I would not accept a formal role in
the party today," Castro said in an article on the
Cubadebate.cu portal, referring to his brother Raul and his
own absence from the party`s new Central Committee, elected
yesterday.

Castro, 84, had served as first secretary in the
Central Committee of the party -- which underpins the
country`s Communist government -- since the party`s creation
in 1965.

Fidel said he had handed over the functions of the
party head to Raul when he ceded power to his brother because
of his own declining health in 2006, though he retained the
first secretary title.

"(Raul) has always been who I described as First
Secretary and Commander in Chief," Fidel wrote in the article.

"He never failed to convey to me the ideas that were
planned," he added.

The move came after the sixth Communist Party Congress
approved a flurry of measures yesterday aimed at keeping
Cuba`s centrally planned economy from collapse but without any
broad embrace of market-oriented economic change.

The changes inject a modicum of the free market into
the island`s economy ahead of a vote today expected to
officially relieve 84-year-old Castro of his position as party
head after more than four decades.

The 1,000 delegates gathered in Havana for the
four-day party congress approved some 300 economic proposals
and elected a new central committee leadership.

Reforms include the cutting of, eventually, a million
state jobs, and decentralising the agricultural sector.

Many of the measures have already been adopted over
the past year, with the Congress now formally approving them.

Results of the voting on leadership term limits will
be presented today, when Fidel, who ceded power to his brother
when he fell ill in 2006, would be finally, officially
replaced as party chief.

Raul, who turns 80 on June 3, likely would officially
become the party`s new first secretary.

Raul Castro said on Saturday that he backed political
term limits of 10 years at most for the top leadership spots,
in a country he and his brother have led for more than five
decades.

Focus will be also on the party`s number two position,
which could possibly signal the direction of eventual transfer
of power in the years to come.

Raul has rejected broader market-minded reforms like
those adopted by China, saying they would be "in open
contradiction to the essence of socialism... because they were
calling for allowing the concentration of property."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 12:12

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