Tepid response over Castro retirement

2013-02-26 10:03
Cuban President Raul Castro. (File, AP)

Cuban President Raul Castro. (File, AP)

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Miami - Cuban-Americans in Miami are reacting with a collective shrug over the news that Raul Castro plans to retire from Cuba's presidency within five years.

Many believe Castro's departure and the ascendance of Miguel Diaz-Canel won't bring change.

Exiles such as 74-year-old Alberto Faustino have been waiting years for the Castro brothers to leave or be forced out. Fidel Castro handed power to his brother after falling ill in 2006. Raul Castro said on Sunday that his new presidential term would be his last.

Diaz-Canel has been tapped to be Raul Castro's top lieutenant and possible successor.

Faustino and other Cuban-Americans said the absence of free elections and continuation of rule by the Communist Party mean there will be little to celebrate when Castro is gone.

Congratulations from Chavez


Meanwhile, AFP reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is convalescing in a Caracas hospital, issued a statement on Monday congratulating President Castro for his re-election to a final five-year term.

Chavez sent his "warmest congratulations to the revolutionary leader Raul Castro" and wished him "great success" after the National Assembly re-elected him on Sunday.

The Venezuelan leftist leader has forged close ties with Cuba's the retired Fidel and his brother Raul. Chavez has undergone four rounds of cancer surgery in Cuba since June 2011.

Chavez returned to Caracas on 18 February after spending two months in a Cuban hospital following his latest surgery in Havana.

The Venezuelan government has issued sporadic statements since Chavez's 11 December operation and his face has only been seen in four pictures released on 15 February, showing him in bed, smiling with his two daughters.

- AP
Read more on:    fidel castro  |  raul castro  |  cuba  |  us
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