Fidel Hints He's Ready to Retire

Talks of elder statesman role
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2007 5:01 AM CST
Cuba's acting President Raul Castro waves during a ceremony in honor of the late Argentine-born Cuba's revolutionary leader Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. Raul took power on a temporary basis after Fidel's surgery...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro has clearly hinted at retirement for the first time since he fell ill 16 months ago, Reuters reports. He handed over power to his brother Raul last year on a temporary basis. "My elemental duty is not to hold on to positions and less to obstruct the path of younger people," Castro said in a letter read on Cuban state TV.

Cuba's National Assembly could formalize Castro's retirement when it meets in March. Castro, 81, took power in 1959. He has remained active by writing dozens of newspaper columns. Castro's homage in a recent essay to a 100-year-old Brazilian architect who's still working also suggests he's unlikely to completely fade from public life. "You have to be of consequence up to the end," Castro wrote.