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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Cuba's Raul Castro Plans To Retire In 2018

Danny Lee |
February 24, 2013 | 7:56 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

The Cuban leader plans to retire in 2018 (Fotos Gov/Ba / Creative Commons)
The Cuban leader plans to retire in 2018 (Fotos Gov/Ba / Creative Commons)
Raul Castro announced Sunday that he will step down as president of Cuba in 2018 following a final five-year term, the Associated Press reported.

The 81-year-old also said he plans to establish two-term limits and age caps for political offices in the country, including the presidency. Castro hinted at other possible changes to the constitution during a 35-minute speech, but fought back speculation that Cuba would soon shift away from socialism.

"I was not chosen to be president to restore capitalism to Cuba," he said. "I was elected to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism, not destroy it."

The end of the Castro era could play a role in shaping U.S.-Cuba ties. More from the AP:

The wording of Washington's 51-year economic embargo on the island specifies that it cannot be lifted while a Castro is in charge.

When Raul Castro hinted at his retirement plans on Friday, it earned a sharp response from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida, who called it a ploy.

"If dictator Raul Castro states that he will retire in five years, there will still be no real change for the Cuban people so long as the Castro brothers remain in any form of leadership position, even behind the scenes," she said. "The U.S. should not change its policy of isolation of the Cuban regime."

Castro, who took over for brother Fidel in 2006, has elevated Miguel Diaz-Canel to first in the line of succession.


Read the full story at the Associated Press. Find more Neon Tommy stories on Cuba here.

Reach Executive Producer Danny Lee here; follow him here.



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