[News] Fidel Castro will neither aspire to nor accept reelection

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 19 10:42:34 EST 2008

Good slideshow from NY Times

Fidel Castro will neither aspire to nor accept reelection

Fidel Castro will neither aspire to nor accept reelection

Havana, Feb 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President 
Fidel Castro announced he will not aspire to nor 
accept the positions of President of the State 
Council and Commander in Chief at the Parliament 
session scheduled for February 24th.

“This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is 
to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I 
shall continue to write under the heading of 
‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just 
another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice 
will be heard. I shall be careful,” stressed the 
leader of the Cuban Revolution in a message released Tuesday.

Prensa Latina published the full text of Fidel 
Castro´s statement: Message from the Commander in 
Chief Dear compatriots: Last Friday, February 15, 
I promised you that in my next reflection I would 
deal with an issue of interest to many 
compatriots. Thus, this now is rather a message.

The moment has come to nominate and elect the 
State Council, its President, its Vice-Presidents and Secretary.

For many years I have occupied the honorable 
position of President. On February 15, 1976 the 
Socialist Constitution was approved with the 
free, direct and secret vote of over 95% of the 
people with the right to cast a vote. The first 
National Assembly was established on December 2nd 
that same year; this elected the State Council 
and its presidency. Before that, I had been a 
Prime Minister for almost 18 years. I always had 
the necessary prerogatives to carry forward the 
revolutionary work with the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.

There were those overseas who, aware of my 
critical health condition, thought that my 
provisional resignation, on July 31, 2006, to the 
position of President of the State Council, which 
I left to First Vice-President Raul Castro Ruz, 
was final. But Raul, who is also minister of the 
Armed Forces on account of his own personal 
merits, and the other comrades of the Party and 
State leadership were unwilling to consider me 
out of public life despite my unstable health condition.

It was an uncomfortable situation for me 
vis-à-vis an adversary which had done everything 
possible to get rid of me, and I felt reluctant to comply.

Later, in my necessary retreat, I was able to 
recover the full command of my mind as well as 
the possibility for much reading and meditation. 
I had enough physical strength to write for many 
hours, which I shared with the corresponding 
rehabilitation and recovery programs. Basic 
common sense indicated that such activity was 
within my reach. On the other hand, when 
referring to my health I was extremely careful to 
avoid raising expectations since I felt that an 
adverse ending would bring traumatic news to our 
people in the midst of the battle. Thus, my first 
duty was to prepare our people both politically 
and psychologically for my absence after so many 
years of struggle. I kept saying that my recovery 
“was not without risks.” My wishes have always 
been to discharge my duties to my last breath. That’s all I can offer.

To my dearest compatriots, who have recently 
honored me so much by electing me a member of the 
Parliament where so many agreements should be 
adopted of utmost importance to the destiny of 
our Revolution, I am saying that I will neither 
aspire to nor accept, I repeat, I will neither 
aspire to nor accept the positions of President 
of the State Council and Commander in Chief.

In short letters addressed to Randy Alonso, 
Director of the Round Table National TV Program, 
--letters which at my request were made public-- 
I discreetly introduced elements of this message 
I am writing today, when not even the addressee 
of such letters was aware of my intention. I 
trusted Randy, whom I knew very well from his 
days as a student of Journalism. In those days I 
met almost on a weekly basis with the main 
representatives of the University students from 
the provinces at the library of the large house 
in Kohly where they lived. Today, the entire country is an immense University.

Following are some paragraphs chosen from the 
letter addressed to Randy on December 17, 2007: 
“I strongly believe that the answers to the 
current problems facing Cuban society, which has, 
as an average, a twelfth grade of education, 
almost a million university graduates, and a real 
possibility for all its citizens to become 
educated without their being in any way 
discriminated against, require more variables for 
each concrete problem than those contained in a 
chess game. We cannot ignore one single detail; 
this is not an easy path to take, if the 
intelligence of a human being in a revolutionary 
society is to prevail over instinct.

“My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, 
much less to stand in the way of younger persons, 
but rather to contribute my own experience and 
ideas whose modest value comes from the 
exceptional era that I had the privilege of living in.

“Like Niemeyer, I believe that one has to be 
consistent right up to the end.” Letter from 
January 8, 2008: “
I am a firm supporter of the 
united vote (a principle that preserves the 
unknown merits), which allowed us to avoid the 
tendency to copy what came to us from countries 
of the former socialist bloc, including the 
portrait of the one candidate, as singular as his 
solidarity towards Cuba. I deeply respect that 
first attempt at building socialism, thanks to 
which we were able to continue along the path we 
had chosen.” And I reiterated in that letter that 
I never forget that ‘all of the world’s glory 
fits in a kernel of corn.” Therefore, it would be 
a betrayal to my conscience to accept a 
responsibility requiring more mobility and 
dedication than I am physically able to offer. This I say devoid of all drama.

Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on 
cadres from the old guard and others who were 
very young in the early stages of the process. 
Some were very young, almost children, when they 
joined the fight on the mountains and later they 
have given glory to the country with their heroic 
performance and their internationalist missions. 
They have the authority and the experience to 
guarantee the replacement. There is also the 
intermediate generation which learned together 
with us the basics of the complex and almost 
unattainable art of organizing and leading a revolution.

The path will always be difficult and require 
from everyone’s intelligent effort. I distrust 
the seemingly easy path of apologetics or its 
antithesis the self-flagellation. We should 
always be prepared for the worst variable. The 
principle of being as prudent in success as 
steady in adversity cannot be forgotten. The 
adversary to be defeated is extremely strong; 
however, we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.

This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is 
to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I 
shall continue to write under the heading of 
‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just 
another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice 
will be heard. I shall be careful.


Fidel Castro Ruz February 18, 2008 5:30 p.m.


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