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Cuban President Raul Castro Talks Retirement

Raul Castro either hinted or joked about his retirement

Cuban president Raul Castro is expected to start a second five year term as leader of his country on Sunday. Earlier today the brother of infamous Fidel Castro talked about the possibility of eventual retirement.

It is hard to tell whether a retirement by another of the Castro brothers would be a good or bad thing for the country. Its also unclear whether or not the United States would welcome or be against such a move.

Raul Castro has been decidedly more moderate than Fidel when it comes to dealing with the US. In July, Raul commented that he was open to establishing relations with the United States.

Raul took over as leader of the country in 2008, when Fidel’s age and failing health led him to hand over the title to his younger brother. ABC News reports that Raul made the comments to reporters while paying a visit to the Soviet Soldier monument in Havana.

Castro was hosting a visit from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when he made the comments and he said them while showing a small smile.

After saying that he was going to be announcing his retirement, he asked reporters why they didn’t seem to believe him. He then said that they should listen to his speech on Sunday.

The fact that no one seems to know whether Raul was joking has made the situation more interesting. While younger than Fidel, Raul Castro turns 82 this summer. Reuters reports that the Raul has also said that the Communist Party leaders should serve two, five-year terms.

This being the second term as President of Cuba, there are some who find it plausible that he could announce that this will be his last term as the country’s leader.

Juliet Sweig, the director of Latin America studies at a US think tank known as the Council on Foreign Relations told Reuters that joking about something like this is Raul’s style.

Sweig added that she would be quite surprised if Raul Castro announced he wasn’t going to stand for a second term.

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2 Responses to “Cuban President Raul Castro Talks Retirement”

  1. Vahe Demirjian

    How longer do the Cuban expats in Florida have to wait for the elder Castro to die? Raul Castro has been in power for seven years and it's a waste of time for the expats to keep waiting for Fidel Castro to die even though he was an evil dictator beyond doubt. I wouldn't be surprised if Raul suddenly collapsed from cardiac arrest and died because he was a self-declared Marxist long before his brother admitted being a Marxist.

    The Helms-Burton Act says that the US cannot normalize relations with a Cuban gov't that includes one or both Castros. With both Castros reaching the end of their lives, and a new generation of Cuban leaders poised to take the reins of power, the US should not prematurely judge the next leader of Cuba as merely an extension of his predecessors. Time will tell whether the next Cuban leader refrains from cracking down on his opponents and carrying out virulent campaigns of propaganda against the US.