Raul Castro says he is stepping down as chairman of the Communist Party of Cuba, ending an era of formal leadership by him and his brother Fidel Castro that began with the 1959 revolution

HAVANA – Raul Castro said Friday he is stepping down as chairman of the Communist Party of Cuba, ending an era of formal leadership that began with his brother Fidel’s 1959 revolution and the country

The 89-year-old Castro announced this in a speech at the opening of the eighth Congress of the ruling party, the only one allowed on the island

He said he was going to retire feeling that he had accomplished his mission and that he was confident about the future of the fatherlandâ ????

“Nothing, nothing, nothing is forcing me to make that decision,” said Castro, whose speech to the closed congress was partially broadcast on state television. As long as I live, I’ll be ready with my foot in the stirrup, the homeland, the Defend revolution and socialism with more force than ever beforeâ ????

Castro did not say who he would support as his successor as first secretary of the Communist Party, but he had previously indicated that he would prefer to hand over control to 60-year-old Miguel DÃaz-Canel, who will succeed him in 2018 President and is the standard bearer of a younger generation of loyalists who have pushed for an economic opening without touching Cuba One-party system

Photos from the official Cuban news agency showed Castro in an olive green uniform entering the premises with DÃaz-Canel at his side

Castro’s resignation means that for the first time in more than six decades, Cubans will no longer have a Castro to formally manage their affairs, and many had expected the change

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The transition comes at a difficult time for Cuba, and many on the island are concerned about what lies ahead

The Trump administration-imposed coronavirus pandemic, painful financial reforms, and restrictions have hit the economy, which has shrunk 11% over the past year due to a collapse in tourism and remittances, long food lines and shortages have echoes of the brought back “special time” that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s

Much of the debate in Cuba has focused on the pace of reform Many complain that the so-called “historical generation” represented by Castro was too slow to open the economy

In January, DÃaz-Canel finally pulled the trigger on a plan, approved two congresses ago, to unify the island’s dual currency system, sparking fears of inflation. It also opened the doors to a wider range of private companies? a category banned for a long time or severely restricted? Allows Cubans to operate many types of self-run businesses legally from home

This year’s Congress is expected to focus on unfinished reforms to overtake state-owned companies, attract foreign investment, and provide more legal protection for private business activities

The Communist Party consists of 700000 activists and has the task of regulating the affairs of the nation and society in the Cuban constitution

Fidel Castro, who led the 1959 revolution that drove dictator Fulgencio Batista from power, officially became party leader in 1965, about four years after the official takeover of socialism

He quickly took over the old party under his control and was the undisputed leader of the country until he fell ill in 2006 and in 2008 handed over the presidency to his younger brother Raul, who had fought by his side during the revolution

For most of his life, Raul played the second string to his brother Fidel first as a guerrilla commander, later as a high-ranking figure in their socialist government. But for the past decade, it has been Raul who has been the face of communist Cuba and its defiance against US Efforts to oust his socialist system

As the fourth of seven children of a Spanish immigrant in eastern Cuba, Raul and his charismatic older brother carried out an almost suicidal attack on the Moncada barracks in the eastern city of Santiago in 1953 and survived the action carried out by the armed forces of the dictator Fulgencio Batista

He led a large front in the ensuing guerrilla war, which was led by Fidel and overthrew Batista. And he served as chief of the armed forces for one generation or another. For many years, as an orthodox communist, he was considered his brother

But it was Raul who agreed with US President Barack Obama in 2014, which created the most extensive US Opening to Cuba since the early 1960s â ???? Creating a surge in contacts with the United States that was largely reversed under Obama’s successor Donald Trump

Now that Raul Castro is stepping down as party leader in the face of changes and challenges, some say the island needs continuity for the future

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Fidel Castro, Raul Castro

World news – CA – Raul Castro resigns as communist chief and ends the era in Cuba

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/raul-castro-confirms-resigning-ending-long-era-cuba-77123106