Cuban leader says he will relinquish role after nearly 50 years in power.
|Castro announced on Tuesday he was retiring as president [EPA]|
Following Fidel Castro’s announcement that he is retiring as leader of Cuba, Al Jazeera looks at blogs written by Cubans both in Cuba and abroad and also Cuban-Americans living in exile to gauge their reaction to the news.
Access to the internet in Cuba is limited and monitored by the government, hence posting on blogs can be limited.
|Generation Y – blog from Havana, Cuba|
I can understand that today an era has come to an end
I have not been able to sleep since three o’clock in the morning. The phone began ringing just minutes after the web page “Granma” posted the latest reflections of Fidel Castro.
I have not been able to go to bed at all. It is difficult to think clearly when you have been awake since so early; I am still at the stage of disbelief where you ask to be pinched to know you are not dreaming …
I am accosted with questions just as in this island someone could have “answers” to them.
I have spent all my life working for the same president; not only me but also my parents who were born in the 50’s.
They do not remember another president other than the one who said goodbye today. Several generations of Cubans have never asked themselves who will govern them in the future.
Right now we do not even have many doubts as to who will fill the highest job in the country, we do know that someone is not included anymore.
Even though I am almost falling asleep, I can understand that today an era has come to an end.
It is worth thinking if the new path opening ahead of us will bear our names, or will it take the course of our wishes and dreams, or will it last another 50 years …
|My Island at noon – from Havana, Cuba|
If Cuba’s political situation was a game of chess, today’s round is such that the experts would call it “theoretical innovation”.
If one were to ask the experts for an opinion, most likely the unanimous answer would be something like: “This move unties the centre of the chess table, allowing new ways for the game to be played.”
But if one were to dare to ask for a forecast, everybody would move back and give the universal look of “What comes afterwards? Who knows …”
In this case, the uncertainty is a logical result. Until now this chess player, in spite of his famous imbecility, had played the game with his trademark style.
However, in one of the most complex moments of the game, his disciples have taken over.
These disciples have only played minor games and always under the scrutiny of their master.
|Cuba Journal blog – by Cuban American in US|
|Castro has led Cuba for almost 50 years [AFP]|
The imperialists to the north tried everything in their arsenal to defeat Fidel Castro.
He leaves the presidency of Cuba undefeated and unbowed, having led his nation for close to 50 years. His health demands that he pass to a new and well prepared generation the governing reins.
He led a very strenuous and active life. He made it possible for Cuba to become a truly sovereign and independent nation. The Cuban people, like at the beginning of the Revolution, say to him: Gracias Fidel!
The constitutional process of succession, which started on July 31, 2006 will continue.
I will remain to my last day 100 per cent Fidelista. Long live Cuba!
|Blog for Cuba|
According to Cuban state controlled media, Fidel Castro says: “I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief.”
Those words would be appropriate coming from say, a beloved retiring monarch who has led a prosperous people.
Castro of course is not among that fairytale group. Fidel Castro is a … dictator who has maintained absolute power in a Soviet style police state by terrorising the Cuban people.
So no one should be popping any corks; this announcement is a part of a well planned construct as has been Castro Inc’s public face for nearly a half century.
While the international “useful idiot” set has put Fidel and his bloodthirsty cohorts on a Robin Hoodish pedestal, Cubans themselves have preferred to take their chances with the shark infested waters of the Florida Strait.
Child of the new Revolution blog – by Cuban now in Australia
|Fidel’s brother Raul is expected by many to
take his brother’s place [GALLO/GETTY]
I wish I could share [my friends’] excitement at the news, but like all Cubans – inside and outside the island – I know that when it comes to Castro, nothing ever is what it seems.
Just because the man who has ruled over his 11 million subjects for close to half a century says he is stepping down from some of his (many) official positions, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the Castro era. No matter what the papers say.
Even the timing seems perverse – an announcement published in Granma, in the middle of the night, while most Cubans are asleep. Way to wake up, Havana!
And anyway, does this mean that Castro will step down from all his posts? Does it mean he will remain head of the all-powerful Communist Party? Will he really retire and stop meddling from the sidelines, as he has been doing for the past 18 months?
And what does he mean when he says that this is not a “farewell”? Why hasn’t he endorsed his own designated successor, Raul, no spring chicken at 75, as the next commandante? Or is the dictator so sick after all that death is imminent?
See? So many questions.
I hope my friends are right, though. I hope it’s the beginning of a new chapter. I hope I am wrong and they are right.
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