End of an Era: Raul Castro Resigns As Cuba’s Communist Party Head

For the first time in six decades, Cuba’s socialist government will not have a Castro in top leadership.

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World
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Raul Castro on Friday, 18 April said that he is stepping down as the head of Cuba’s communist party.</p></div>
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For the first time in six decades, Cuba’s socialist government will not have a Castro in top leadership. Raul Castro on Friday, 18 April, said that he is stepping down as the head of Cuba’s Communist party. The Communist party is the sole ruling party in charge of the country’s affairs as per the Cuban Constitution.

In a speech at the opening of the Eighth congress of the sole ruling party, Castro announced that he has concluded his task as first secretary, “with the satisfaction of having fulfilled (his duty) and confidence in the future of the fatherland”, quoted AP. He is likely to officiate his resignation by Monday, 19 April.

“As long as I live, I will be ready with a food in the stirrup to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism,” said Castro on Friday, as per the report.

The 89-year-old has not indicated who the successor would be, although, he has seemingly favoured 60-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel in the past, whom he named as his replacement as President of Cuba in 2018, reported PTI.

He stated that Cuba’s leadership was being handed off to a younger generation that is “full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit”, as per The New York Times.

Castro's Reign in Cuba

Castro took the reins from his elder brother, a former Communist revolutionary, Fidel Castro in 2018 after he fell ill. Fidel Castro led Cuba for five decades, after dethroning dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, where Raul fought side by side, and was the world's third longest-serving head of state, after Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand.

Fidel was vividly remembered for playing an influential role during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Fidel Castro also enjoyed a close relationship with India – as is testified by his various meetings with the Indian leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. He died in 2016.

He had temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul in July 2006 after undergoing intestinal surgery. The handover of power became official in 2008.

Raul succeeded Castro as the head of the Communist Party in 2011. He lead the socialist government as President to make deals with US President Obama in 2014, which opened up the Cuban economy to the US for the first time since 1960s, a move now reversed by Donald Trump, reported AP.

Cuba’s leadership, currently led by Diaz-Canel is likely to open up reforms such as increased free market activity, as per The New York Times. Diaz-Canel, as per PTI is expected to open doors to more private enterprises, and allow Cubans to operate self-run busineses from their homes.

(With inputs from AP, New York Times and PTI)

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