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article imageCastro Resigns as Cuba's President

By Sheba     Feb 19, 2008 in World
Cuba's President Fidel Castro, 81, has announced his resignation after almost 50 years of rule. He will not be seeking a new term in next Sunday's parliamentary meeting. However, he will still remain as a member of parliament.
This should come as no surprise -- in an earlier report back in December I reported there was talk of Castro stepping aside for the younger generation, while remaining in an advisory position. Today that has come to fruition.
Last July, Castro ceded power to his younger brother Raul, as he underwent medical treatment for an undisclosed intestinal illness. He has been out of the public spotlight ever since although he has participated in political life through his writing of numerous essays and newspaper columns.
The AP: Castro rose to power on New Year's Day 1959 and reshaped Cuba into a communist state 90 miles from U.S. shores. The fiery guerrilla leader survived assassination attempts, a CIA-backed invasion and a missile crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Ten U.S. administrations tried to topple him, most famously in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.
His ironclad rule ensured Cuba remained communist long after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe.
Still it was the United States that first recognized the Cuban government. However, Castro snubbed Uncle Sam when he began to seize US property and turned to the Soviet Union for aid.
The United States squeezed Cuba's economy and the CIA plotted to kill Castro. Hostility reached its peak with the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
When the Soviet Union collapse sending Cuba into an economic crisis Castro's leadership saw a turn around in the 1990s in Cuba's economy through its tourism industry. Today, Cuba still send doctors and teachers to other countries in the Western Hemisphere. Many thought that without the help of Uncle Sam Cuba will become destitute like countries like Haiti, but that never happened.
The United States built a detailed plan in 2005 for American assistance to ensure a democratic transition on the island of 11.2 million people after Castro's death. But Cuban officials have insisted that the island's socialist political and economic systems will outlive Castro.
Castro leaves a rich legacy behind. There are many who wish him dead, including many Cuban exiles in the United States. Nevertheless, he has many admirers even among his own people in Cuba. He is stepping down as president, will not be seeking re-election but will be very present in the people's mind and politics until he cannot physically do it any more.
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