Brother Raul, 76, Remains in Charge
By Jon Ponder on 2/19/2008, 4:41am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Fidel Castro, Cuba's supreme leader since January 1959, has announced he will retire:

Cuban leader Fidel Castro told compatriots early today that he would not accept another term as president, throwing open the Communist-ruled island's leadership for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Castro, 81, and ailing with an undisclosed intestinal disorder, announced in a statement carried on the state-run Granma International newspaper website early today that he was stepping down as head of state.

His announcement left little wiggle room for a comeback: "I do not aspire to and will not accept, I repeat, I neither want nor will accept, the position of president of the Council of State and commander in chief."