CNS – Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro delivered a valedictory speech on Tuesday to the Communist Party he put in power a half-century ago, telling party members he would soon die and exhorting them to help his ideas survive.
“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” Castro said in his most extensive public appearance in years. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without truce to obtain them.”
Castro spoke as the government announced that his brother Raul will retain the Cuban Communist Party’s highest post alongside his hardline second-in-command.
That announcement and Fidel Castro’s speech together delivered a resounding message that the island’s revolutionary generation will remain in control even as its members age and die, relations with the United States are normalised, and popular dissatisfaction grows over the country’s economic performance.
Government news sites said Raul Castro, 84, would remain the party’s first secretary and Jose Ramon Machado Ventura would hold the post of second secretary for at least part of a second five-year term. Castro currently is both president and first secretary. The decision means he could hold a Communist Party position at least as powerful as the presidency even after stepping down from the government post in 2018.