Raul Castro confirms he’s resigning, ending long era in Cuba. Raul Castro, the figurehead of Cuba’s Communist party over the past decade, announced his resignation.
Castro made the announcement at the eight congress of the ruling party, part of which was aired on state television.
“As long as I live I will be ready with my foot in the stirrup to defend the homeland, the revolution and socialism with more force than ever,” said Castro, who took over the helm of the party in 2011.
Mr Castro, 89, told a party congress that he is handing over the leadership to a younger generation “full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit”.
His successor will be voted in at the end of the four-day congress.
Castro didn’t reveal his successor, but has previously indicated favoring Miguel Diaz-Canel, who took over as the president of the Communist party in 2018. He said that he was handing over to a new leadership who were party loyalists and “full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit.”
The move, which was expected, ends the era of formal leadership by him and his brother Fidel Castro, which began with the 1959 revolution
Raul Castro said that it was important to speed up reforms. He denounced “inertia, conformism” and lack of initiative in state-owned companies.
Castro’s resignation comes at a time when Cuba is reeling from an economic crisis, deepened by the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed by the Trump-era US administration.
The last year saw food shortages and discontent from the public over growing inequality. Earlier this year, the Cuban government implemented a plan to unify Cuba’s dual currency and allowed private businesses to operate in most sectors of the country, in the biggest reform to Cuba’s state-controlled economy for years.
Reform-minded Cuban economists have long called for the role of small business to be expanded to help jump-start the economy and to create jobs.
The economy has stagnated for years and contracted by 11% last year.