02/23/13 - ABC News - Cuba's Raul Castro Raises Possibility of Retiring
By Paul Haven
Cuban President Raul Castro has unexpectedly raised the possibility of
leaving his post, saying Friday that he is old and has a right to retire.
But he did not say when he might do so or if such a move was imminent.
The Cuban leader is scheduled to be named by parliament to a new five-year
term Sunday, and Castro urged reporters to listen to his speech that day.
"I am going to resign," Castro said at a joint appearance with visiting
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an enigmatic smile on his face. It
was not clear whether he was joking.
"I am going to be 82 years old," Castro added. "I have the right to retire,
don't you think?"
When reporters continued to shout questions about his plans for the next
five years, Castro replied: "Why are you so incredulous?"
He said to listen carefully on Sunday.
"It will be an interesting speech," he said. "Pay attention."
Castro's tone was light and his comments came in informal remarks at a
mausoleum dedicated to soldiers from the former Soviet Union who have died
around the world.
The Cuban leader has spoken before of his desire to implement a two-term
limit for all Cuban government positions, including the presidency. He has
also alluded to the limited time he has left to overhaul the island's weak
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2013 file photo, Cuba's President Raul Castro
smiles after arriving at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in
Santiago, Chile. The Cuban leader raised the possibility of leaving his
post, during an appearance Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, with Russian President
Dmitri Medvedev. Castrol told reporters he's about to turn 82 years old and
added, "I have the right to retire, don't you think?"(AP Photo/Luis
Hidalgo, File) Close
That has led many to speculate that this upcoming term would be his last,
though term limits have never been codified into Cuban law.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had no comment
on Castro's remarks.
Most Havana residents had not heard about the comments, which were not
shown on Cuban television, although other footage from his appearance with
Medvedev was shown. Many reacted with skepticism.
"Who would they put in?" asked Marta Alvarez, a 45-year-old housewife
walking through Old Havana. "But I don't think it would be now. It would
happen in five years."
Castro will be 86 when his next term ends in 2018. Up until now, all eyes
had been on who would emerge as Castro's first and second vice presidents
during Sunday's proceedings. The positions are currently occupied by two
loyal octogenarians who fought in the 1959 revolution.
Putting someone younger in one of those roles would be the first sign that
Castro was settling on a potential next-generation successor, something he
and his brother Fidel have never done, even as many comrades have succumbed
to old age.
As far back as December 2010, Castro began to reflect on his
responsibility, and that of his aging generation, to right Cuba's economy,
noting that the actuarial tables leave them few remaining years.
"The time we have left is short, the task is enormous," he told lawmakers
in his year-end speech that year. "I think we have an obligation ... to set
(the country) on the right course."
When Raul Castro does leave the political stage, it would end more than a
half century of unbroken rule by the two brothers, who came to power in
1959 at the head of a revolution against U.S.-backed strongman Fulgencio
Armando Gutierrez, a 78-year-old Cuban-American lawyer in Florida and
veteran of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, said he hoped Castro
wasn't joking about retiring, but doubted that whoever follows would bring
true political change.
"Can you imagine 54 years?" Gutierrez said. "Not even the Roman emperors
lasted that long."
Original Source / Fuente Original:
CUBA-L FAIR USE NOTICE
This server contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of Cuba's political, economic, human rights, international, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and historical issues, among others. We distribute the materials on the basis of a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. The material is distributed without profit. The material should be used for information, research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ uscode/17/107.shtml.