Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro announced Tuesday he was stepping aside, ending five decades of ironclad rule marked by his brash defiance of the United States.
Citing poor health, Fidel Castro, 81, said he would not retain the presidency when the national assembly meets later this week, in a message published by the online version of the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma.
"I neither will aspire to, nor will I accept, the position of president of the Council of State and commander-in-chief," Castro wrote, almost 19 months after undergoing intestinal surgery and handing power temporarily to his brother Raul Castro.
"It would betray my conscience to take up a responsibility that requires mobility and total commitment that I am not in physical condition to offer," he said.
Castro did not say who he thought should be his successor. Any member of his inner circle is arguably a contender, although many Cuba-watchers believe Raul Castro, who has been serving as interim president, is the leading choice.
Hopefully we can all start vacationing in Cuba, and buy Cuban cigars (oh yeah) in the near future. It's still a little early for that though. Especially if Raul is in charge.
While Castro is not dead, he is not far off either. At least we still have something to look forward to. We also must not forget the great memories that Castro has given us ... like the one below.