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On Sickbed, Castro Relinquishes Power

Posted August. 02, 2006 03:01,   


Cuban leader Fidel Castro (80), who has ruled his country for 47 years, announced that he provisionally handed over power to his younger brother Raul, the defense minister (75), as he was undergoing intestinal surgery.

Castro`s secretary, Carlos Valenciaga, read a letter on July 31 from the president in which the president said that stress had forced him into surgery and that he would be in bed for several weeks for rest. He added that Raul Castro, his brother, would assume control over the leadership of the council of the state temporarily. He also asked for the delay of his 80th birthday anniversary scheduled for August 13 to December 2, the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

He seized power by leading the 1959 Cuban revolution and has ruled the communist country for 47 years. He is the longest lasting-ruler to date except kings of Thailand and Great Britain. It is believed to be the first time Castro has temporarily ceded power since taking office.