Former Cuban President Raul Castro has announced his resignation as the head of the country’s ruling Communist Party, the most powerful position in the Caribbean island nation.
Castro made the announcement during a speech Friday on the first day of the party’s eighth congress, saying he is handing over power to a younger generation that is “full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit.”
“I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live, I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism,” he told party delegates at the closed-door meeting at a convention center in Havana.
Castro underlined that he was retiring with the sense of having “fulfilled his mission and confident in the future of the fatherland.”
He is expected to formally step down on April 19, the last day of the congress, when the party’s new leadership will be elected.