Fidel Castro relenquishes presidency of Cuba

Fidel Castro has announced he will not return to the presidency of Cuba in a letter to Granma, the island’s state-controlled newspaper.

Castro had ruled uninterrupted until July of 2006, when he transferred power to his brother Raul due to deteriorating health. He had been improving in recent months, and seemed ready to take a more involved role in the government, winning a seat in the country’s parliament last month. There’s no indication whether or not health is a factor in the decision.

The announcement ends 49 years in the position, outlasting nine United States presidential administrations dating back to 1959, when he led an overthrow of the government of Fulgencio Batista.

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To read the full text of Fidel Castro’s letter, go to