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AP: “Detractors Called Castro A Dictator”

From a heartbroken Associated Press:

Cuban President Fidel Castro listens to a speaker during the May Day parade in Havana’s Revolution Square in this May 1, 2005 file photo.

Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba’s president

By ANITA SNOW, Associated Press Writer Tue Feb 19

HAVANA – An ailing, 81-year-old Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba’s president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when parliament meets Sunday.

The end of Castro’s rule — the longest in the world for a head of government — frees his 76-year-old brother Raul to implement reforms he has hinted at since taking over as acting president when Fidel Castro fell ill in July 2006. President Bush said he hopes the resignation signals the beginning of a democratic transition.

“My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath,” Castro wrote in a letter published Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma. But, he wrote, “it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer.” …

There had been widespread speculation about whether Castro would continue as president when the new National Assembly meets Sunday to pick the country’s top leadership. Castro has been Cuba’s unchallenged leader since 1959 — monarchs excepted, he was the world’s longest ruling head of state.

Castro said Cuban officials had wanted him to remain in power after his surgery.

“It was an uncomfortable situation for me vis-a-vis an adversary that had done everything possible to get rid of me, and I felt reluctant to comply,” he said in a reference to the United States.

Castro remains a member of parliament and is likely to be elected to the 31-member Council of State on Sunday, though he will no longer be its president. Raul Castro’s wife, Vilma Espin, maintained her council seat until her death last year even though she was too sick to attend meetings for many months.

Castro also retains his powerful post as first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party. The party leadership posts generally are renewed at party congresses, and the last one was held in 1997…

Castro rose to power on New Year’s Day 1959 and reshaped Cuba into a communist state 90 miles from U.S. shores. The fiery guerrilla leader survived assassination attempts, a CIA-backed invasion and a missile crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Ten U.S. administrations tried to topple him, most famously in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.

His ironclad rule ensured Cuba remained communist long after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe.

Castro’s supporters admired his ability to provide a high level of health care and education for citizens while remaining fully independent of the United States. His detractors called him a dictator whose totalitarian government systematically denied individual freedoms and civil liberties such as speech, movement and assembly.

The United States was the first country to recognize Castro’s government, but the countries soon clashed as Castro seized American property and invited Soviet aid.

On April 16, 1961, Castro declared his revolution to be socialist. A day later, he defeated the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. The United States squeezed Cuba’s economy and the CIA plotted to kill Castro. Hostility reached its peak with the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

The collapse of the Soviet Union sent Cuba into economic crisis, but the economy recovered in the late 1990s with a tourism boom.

Gee, no mention of the fact that Mr. Castro was responsible for the death and imprisonment of thousands of his countrymen.

His detractors called him a dictator whose totalitarian government systematically denied individual freedoms and civil liberties such as speech, movement and assembly.

You see, only his “detractors” would claim this. Of course it is just their opinion.

What exemplary journalism from the Associated Press.

Speaking of which, behold the photograph that the New York Times chose to run with their article about the great man:

A child held the Cuban flag in Havana on Tuesday.

Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba’s President

Published: February 20, 2008

If only they could admire fighters for freedom as much as they do those who fight so hard against it.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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