Fidel Flirts With Retiring —Again

Says he once longed to 'cling to power,' but life has changed him
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2007 8:26 AM CST
Cuba's acting president Raul Castro looks on to the seat belonging to Cuba's ailing president Fidel Castro at the National Assembly of Popular Power, the Cuban legislature, as it holds its second and...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Fidel Castro is hinting at retirement again, this time in a letter read aloud to Cuba's parliament yesterday by his brother Raul, the BBC reports. The letter expanded on a much-discussed comment he made last week about not "clinging to power."  This time he admits that he had once longed to do so, from "excessive youth and lack of conscience," but said life had changed him.

The ailing 81-year-old leader handed over temporary power to his brother Raul before undergoing surgery last year, and has not been seen in public since. The letter urged Cubans to support his brother, who has spoken of making Cuba more democratic. "I will raise my hand next to yours to support him," Castro wrote. Nonetheless he remains on the ballot in parliamentary elections Jan. 20, with the support of the Communist Party.