Raúl Castro to Step Down as Head of Cuba’s Communist Party

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Raúl Castro announced Friday that he was handing over leadership of Cuba’s powerful Communist Party to a younger generation “full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit,” leaving the island nation without a Castro at its helm for the first time in over 60 years.

Mr. Castro, who turns 90 in June, reiterated his long-expected intention to step down in a speech kicking off the Communist Party congress on Friday. He is expected to formally step down and announce his replacement before the conference ends on Monday.

After serving two terms as Cuba’s president, Mr. Castro stepped down from that office in 2018, replaced by his handpicked successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

Cuba’s leadership will likely announce further reforms during the party congress, to reorient the country toward a socialist system and away from the more austere Communist model that fueled the revolution that brought Mr. Castro and his brother, Fidel, to power in 1959.