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Castro Resigns

Castro Resigns

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Acting Cuban President Raul Castro speaking last year, over a bas-relief of his brother, Fidel.

Acting Cuban President Raul Castro speaking last year, over a bas-relief of his brother, Fidel. Source: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Source: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images

News broke overnight that Fidel Castro will not seek re-election in Cuba, capping off a nearly 50-year reign in the country. He's been sick for quite some time; and his brother, Raul, has been running the country during his illness. President Bush reacted swiftly to the news, asserting that "Eventually, this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections — and I mean free and I mean fair, not these kind of staged elections that the Castro brothers try to foist off as being true democracy." — not exactly a ringing endorsement of Raul's presumed ascendance. Some analysts say Raul's got some reforms up his sleeve; but with Castro's determination to fight on as a "soldier in the battle of ideas," it's hard to imagine a great deal of change for Cuba. Have you spoken with relatives in Cuba since his announcement? Is this the good news they've been waiting for? What do they hope for... and what do they expect?

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I am hopefully that the US Congress will repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. This put Cuban nationals on practically the same footing as Puerto Ricans in regard to immigration. Cuba should be treated the same as any other nation. Otherwise the draining of that nation of her talent, and the accompanying deterioration, will continue.

Sent by Darn Tootin | 2:13 PM | 2-19-2008

lunacy is described as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results-the embargo has not worked-we have to make the first move in order to get this ball now rolling post Fidel-use your brains and not your brawn America-Cuban Americans need to forget their bravado and remember our fellow Cubans in Cuba who have had to suffer/starve/tolerate Castro's failed policies while we have been here filling our bellies and exercising free speech

Sent by marlene looney | 2:44 PM | 2-19-2008

When the caller mentioned the afro-cuban doctor held prisoner for trying to set up lending libraries, I remembered some talk about librarians who tried to set lending libraries up also going to jail in Cuba. does the speaker know anything about that?

Sent by Heidi | 2:46 PM | 2-19-2008

Dear NPR,
If it were not such a serious issue, I would say many of the comments by your guess Peter B. were quite comical. While he might have a pathological love for the revolution, and it is OK for him to live in his parallel world, however, my consternation is for the moderator for such a high regarded station as NPR.
Your guess called Cuban-Americans oligarchs, and the revolution a success. None of these highly questionable remarks were questioned. In fact, Mr, Castro belonged to the oligarchy, and married into one too. Many working class Cubans left the island, and many rich Cubans helped Castro into power. This Cuban-American bashing by your guess,while not fair, is already the norm, however I did not expect NPR to be complicit.

Sent by Maria R. Abella | 3:23 PM | 2-19-2008

I didn't get to hear 100% of your discussion on Cuba today and I didn't hear anyone discuss what I remember being hot topics when the Castro revolution was taking place. I'm in my 60's and I clearly remember seeing lengthy black and white movies of the Castro rebels on our black and white TV. Looking back I can see that the U.S. was clearly supporting Castro and portraying the revolution as a positive change from the government of President Batista. Two very important aspects I did not hear discussed are:.

1. The official U.S. Government wisdom of the day was that the Batista regime was so corrupt no one could do business with him except organized crime families with gambling interests. So, the U.S. was supportive of Castro's revolution until he got rid of Batista, then the U.S. tried to overthrow Castro before he had actually taken control of the country and began forming a government . Who can blame him for being fearful relations with the U.S. This is another example of why so many people around the world don't like and don't trust the U.S.
2. Again, it was the AMERICAN BUSINESS INTERESTS that have been the real drive behind the refusal of U.S. Presidents to normalize relations with Cuba. American corporations and other wealthy interests had purchased much land and mineral rights in Cuba and Castro said that all assets belonged to the Cuban people. Rightly or wrongly Castro felt that the properties were not obtained in a legitimate manner because of corruption in the Batiste government and probably likened these foreigners to Crime families, corporate thieves , and wealthy outsiders in general looking to take advantage of an undeveloped island culture .
3. For decades the U.S. Government has used and worked with Rogue criminal types like Sadam Hussein before and after he took over power in Iraq WHY don't we have open relations with our neighbor in Cuba? WHAT is THE big deal? Don't tell me it is the DEMOCROCY issue AGAIN.

Sent by marshall Shelor | 5:02 PM | 2-19-2008

I think Cuban Patriotism by Cubans in Cuba exceeds the patriotism of Americans by Americans in Americans as the Cubans are not interested in selling away their country, while Americans have sold America to Multi(and therefore No)-National corporations that hold no national loyalty. I heard comments about Cuban-Americans as being the only ones with enough capital to transition the Cuban Economy into a market economy, a market economy that will eventually sell the Cuban people into slavery. The American people are in slavery to the banks that own their homes, and control their credit ratings; in slavery to China that own the debt and the inventory, and to multi(no)-national corporations. Cuba, by being self-sufficient and self-centered is not a threat to other nations. America, by being greatly indebted, with a great arsenal purchased with borrowed money, is a risk to every nation in the world who is holding US debt - as the tendency for the US to begin a war with countries that are currently US creditors is increasing.

Sent by Mister O | 7:14 PM | 2-19-2008

I have seen no one comment on the fact that Fidel's comments only come through printed letters. How do we know he is still lucid or even alive? This could be a very well managed, careful, slow transition in an effort to forstall any chaos generated by a sudden change. ? Who sees or hears him? I say he is already embalmed ala Lenin.

Sent by eP | 2:42 PM | 2-27-2008