14ymedio, Havana, 16 April 2021 — A nonagenarian and with a country in ruins, Raúl Castro has confirmed the handover to his successor of the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), after completing the two statutory terms that he himself imposed for high-level positions.
The first secretary of the PCC announced his retirement during the presentation of the central report to the Eighth Congress of the country’s single party, which opened in Havana this Friday and will end next Monday.
He did not specifically say who he will endorse as his successor in the leadership of the Party, but he hinted that it will be Miguel Díaz-Canel, whom he appointed as his successor to the presidency in 2018.
According to the official press, “the Army General said that he has the satisfaction of handing over the leadership of the country to a group of prepared leaders, hardened by decades of experience in their transition from the base to high responsibilities, committed to the ethics of the Revolution, identified with the history and culture of the nation, full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit, and knowing that they represent the continuity of the Revolution.”
Among them, he mentioned Miguel Díaz-Canel, handed the presidency of the country by Castro himself, and congratulated his performance in office: “He has known how to form teams and promote cohesion with the higher bodies of the Party, the State and the Government,” Castro said.
There are no surprises, at least in the methodical chronology that Castro himself had drawn up a few years ago. Perhaps what is new is the context in which the role is being passed. With the deepest economic crisis of the last quarter of a century, growing popular dissatisfaction, and Washington’s decision to maintain, for the time being, the sanctions adopted by the Trump Administration, the general could never have projected a darker scenario at the time of presenting his status report.
This is why the decision was made not to broadcast the speech of the first secretary of the PCC live on national television. Castro concluded his speech in a challenging tone and in the purest style of continuity: “Nothing, nothing, nothing forces me to this. As long as I live, I will be ready with my foot on the stirrup to defend the homeland, the Revolution and socialism with more force than ever. Long live free Cuba, long live Fidel, homeland or death.”
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