Manawatu Standard

Last Castro set to bring curtain down on dynasty


Cuba is heading for a symbolic handover of the reins of power as the last of the Castros prepares to step down from the Communist Party leadership at a congress this weekend in Havana. Raul Castro, 89, has held the post since 2011, when he took over from his brother Fidel, who died five years later. The position of first secretary is the top job in the one-party state. It is widely expected that Castro will be replaced by the president, Miguel Diaz-canel, 60. That would herald a generation­al shift to a group of Cuban politician­s and apparatchi­ks born after the Castro brothers ousted the dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, only to set up their own Soviet-backed dictatorsh­ip. At the last party congress in 2016, Castro pledged that he would yield to the ‘‘inexorable laws of life’’ and retire in 2021. His deputy, Jose Ramon Machado, 90, another former comandante who fought in the revolution, is also expected to announce that he will be standing down.

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