Fidel Castro resigns as head of Cuba's ruling Communist Party (VIDEO)


Former Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Alvarez gestures at the place where Fidel Castro had his command post during the invasion 50 years ago, on April 17, 2011 near the Bay of Pigs, in the Matanzas province, Cuba.


Adalberto Roque

Fidel Castro has confirmed his resignation from the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party, but says his brother Raul still runs everything by him.

"Raul knew that I would not accept a formal role in the party today," Castro, 84, reportedly wrote in a column called "Reflections of Fidel" published on cubadebate.com.

He was referring to his brother Raul, the country's president, and his own absence from the party's new Central Committee — which underpins the country's communist government — elected on Monday at the sixth Communist Party Congress.

Castro also wrote that he had been “almost obligated” to become the leader of Cuba in 1959, and that he was surprised to still be alive even though the “the enemy did everything possible to stop me, numerous times tried to kill me.”

According to the Washington Post, he also said there was a need for young leadership in the country and that he approved of his brother’s recommendation of term limits for Cuba's leaders— a maximum of two consecutive terms of five years.

Besides, he noted in the article, his brother still runs everything by him.

The changes do not signal a major change in the way Cuba has been run for the last six decades. However, in a speech Monday, Raul Castro said that "the party leadership was in need of renewal and should subject itself to severe self-criticism."

Along with the changing face of the Communist Party comes the easing of Cuba's property laws. The BBC reports that for the first time since the 1959 Communist Revolution, Cubans will be allowed to buy and sell private property. For more than 50 years, Cubans have been restricted to passing their homes on to their children, or engaging in a corrupt system of swapping.

The meeting also approved measures on Monday aimed at keeping Cuba's centrally planned economy from collapse.