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Stogie News: Castro Finally Stepping Down?

19 Dec 2007

That headline has a question mark because, ever since reports of Castro’s “imminent” death surfaced 16 months ago, I’ve learned you can’t take any news about the oppressive communist dictator at face value.

Castro2He clearly hasn’t died and, with his brother Raúl at the helm, he may not have even relinquished much power. Nonetheless, here’s the latest from the New York Times:

Fidel Castro indicated Monday in a statement read on state television that he was willing to hand over the reins of Cuba’s government to a younger generation of leaders. But his statement remained silent on whether he was speaking hypothetically or had a transition plan in mind.

“My basic duty is not to cling to office, nor even more so, to obstruct the rise of people much younger, but to pass on experiences and ideas whose modest value arises from the exceptional era in which I lived,” said the statement attributed to Mr. Castro, who is 81.

The ailing Mr. Castro, acting in a sort of emeritus role, has produced numerous commentaries in the 16 months since he had abdominal surgery and temporarily handed over power to his younger brother, Raúl, who is 76. But none of the statements until now have addressed the important question of Mr. Castro’s future as Cuba’s president, a position he has held for nearly five decades.

As I’ve written before, Castro’s retirement or death certainly will not instantaneously lift America’s decades-long, hypocritical trade embargo, but Cuban economic and political reforms from a more pragmatic Raúl will go a long way towards that end.

I’m hoping such reforms are forthcoming not merely for cigars, but for the oppressed people of Cuba who have suffered under communism for too long.

Patrick A

photo credit: Flickr

2 Responses to “Stogie News: Castro Finally Stepping Down?”

  1. MonkeyDan Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 2:21 pm #

    See what a lifetime of smoking cigars does to your teeth? or is it the Cuban Dental System?

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  1. Stogie Commentary: Re-Evaluating the Embargo - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    […] Fidel Castro announced that he would be stepping down after five decades as president of Cuba. This significant event gives us a rare moment to soberly […]