Fidel Castro Resigns

Posted on February 19, 2008

Fidel Castro has resigned as Cuba's leader after 49 years of rule. The BBC reports that the resignation was posted at midnight in a letter published on the website of the Cuban Communist Party's newspaper Granma.
President George W Bush said the US was ready to help the "people of Cuba realise the blessings of liberty".

A senior US state department official, John Negroponte, added that the 1962 embargo would probably not be lifted "any time soon".

The European Union said it hoped to relaunch ties with Cuba that were almost completely frozen under Mr Castro, while China described Mr Castro as an old friend and said it would maintain co-operation with Cuba.

Mr Castro has ruled Cuba since leading a revolution in 1959.

The BBC's Michael Voss reports from Havana that most Cubans will be saddened by news of their leader's retirement, but many hope the political transition will bring economic improvements.
Castro, who is said to be very ill, turned control over the government over to his brother Raul in July, 2006 according to the BBC. Raul is 76 years old. The BBC also provides this list of other potential Cuba leaders. President Bush wants Cuba to make changes. He said, "this should be a period of democratic transition for the people of Cuba." CNN's Political Ticker rounds up what some of the presidential hopefuls had to say about Castro's resignations.