KIn his last major speech as head of the Communist Unity Party, uba’s ex-President Raúl Castro called for a “respectful dialogue” with the United States. Cuba is also ready to build a “new kind of relationship” with Washington, Castro said on Friday in front of hundreds of party delegates in Havana. In return, Cuba would not “give up the principles of revolution and socialism,” assured Castro.
In his speech at the party congress, the 89-year-old also confirmed his withdrawal from the post of First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Castro said he finished his job “with the satisfaction of having done my job and with confidence in the future of our country”.
The Castro brothers shaped the country for decades
The brother of long-time president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died in 2016, had previously announced that he would be leaving office at the four-day party congress. The 60-year-old President Miguel Díaz-Canel is to be elected as the new party leader on Monday. This marks the end of the Castro era in Cuba.
The Castro brothers were at the head of the Caribbean state for more than six decades. Raúl Castro’s older brother Fidel, who is still revered as a máximo líder in Cuba, was in charge of government from 1959 to 2006.
When the revolutionary leader fell ill, Raúl Castro took over the business of government in 2006 and was formally elected head of state in 2008. In 2018 he handed over the presidency to Díaz-Canel. Now the 89-year-old resigns from the highest party office.
Díaz-Canel himself promises continuity and has thus apparently secured his leadership position. In a leaked speech in 2018, he presented himself as a hardliner, dissidents are resolutely persecuted under him, but in public appearances he appears rather modern and occasionally even reform-minded.
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