Cuban dictator Raul Castro hints he is considering retiring
Cuban dictator Raul Castro dropped an unexpected hint today that he is considering retirement. This of course raises an important question: Was he being serious, or was this an attempt at irony?
Cuba's Raul Castro mentions possible retirement
HAVANA (AP) - Cuban President Raul Castro has unexpectedly raised the possibility of leaving his post, saying Friday that he is old and has a right to retire. But he did not say when he might do so or if such a move was imminent.
The Cuban leader is scheduled to be named by parliament to a new five-year term on Sunday, and Castro urged reporters to listen to his speech that day.
"I am going to resign," Castro said at a joint appearance with visiting Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"I am going to be 82 years old," Castro added, a broad smile on his face. "I have the right to retire, don't you think?"
When reporters continued to shout questions about his plans for the next five years, Castro replied: "Why are you so incredulous?"
He said to listen carefully on Sunday.
"It will be an interesting speech," he said. "Pay attention."
Castro's tone was light and his comments came in informal remarks at a mausoleum dedicated to soldiers from the former Soviet Union who have died around the world.
The Cuban leader has spoken before of his desire to implement a two-term limit for all Cuban government positions, including the presidency. He has also alluded to the limited time he has left to overhaul the island's weak Marxist economy.
That has led many to speculate that this upcoming term would be his last, though term limits have never been codified into Cuban law.
Most Havana residents had not heard about Castro's comments, which had not been reported on Cuban television although footage from his appearance with Medvedev was shown. Many reacted with skepticism.
"Who would they put in?" asked Marta Alvarez, a 45-year-old housewife walking through Old Havana. "But I don't think it would be now. It would happen in five years."
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