Raul Castro elected new leader

Updated: 2011-04-21 07:57

(China Daily)

Twitter Facebook Myspace Yahoo! Linkedin Mixx

 Raul Castro elected new leader

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro (left) holds up the arm of his brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, during the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in Havana on Tuesday. Desmond Boylan / Reuters

HAVANA - The Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) closed on Tuesday with Raul Castro elected as first secretary, replacing Fidel Castro as the party's leader.

Raul, 79, was elected to the top post by congress delegates, formalizing the role he has played since he took over from his brother Fidel in 2006.

Fidel, 84, who had led the PCC since it was founded in 1965, announced his resignation from the top leadership in an article published by official Cuban media on Tuesday, while Jose Ramon Machado Ventura was elected the party's second secretary.

"I promise to be a soldier of ideas, and I can still fulfill that duty," Fidel said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday sent a congratulatory message to Cuban President Raul Castro on his election as first secretary of the PCC.

"On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and in my own name, I would like to extend my warm congratulations on your election as first secretary of the PCC's Central Committee," Hu said in the message.

"Despite mounting external pressure and numerous difficulties, Cuba has remained committed to the path of socialism and made great achievements to promote the cause of the socialist revolution and construction since the Fifth National Congress of the PCC," the message said.

"At the moment, the PCC is actively seeking a development path which suits Cuba's national conditions," President Hu noted.

He expressed the belief that under the leadership of Raul Castro, the PCC and the Cuban government will lead their people to achieve greater success in exploring and building socialism in Cuba.

"The CPC and the Chinese government have attached great importance to China-Cuba relations and will, as always, pursue a long-term friendly policy toward Cuba," the message said.

"The CPC and the Chinese government are ready to work with their Cuban counterparts to further deepen their traditional friendship, expand friendly cooperation in various fields and promote the sustained development of relations between the two countries and the two parties," the message said.

Fidel's illness and retirement ended an era of Cuban history, marked by his strong leadership and the fact that 70 percent of Cuba's population was born during his decades-long rule.

"Fidel does not need to take any office to stay on top in history, in the present and the future of Cuba," Raul said during his closing remarks at the congress.

Seen as one of the world's most charismatic leaders, Fidel Castro ruled Cuba for 48 years despite the decades-long US embargo, and survived the Cold War and the global political transformation following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

"I will never retire from politics, revolution or my ideas," Fidel said. Since resigning from the Cuban leadership, he has devoted himself to writing editorials on international affairs in the official Granma newspaper.

During the congress, a total of 15 members were elected to the Politburo and 115 members elected to the Central Committee. Raul Castro called on all PCC members to work hard to ensure the enforcement of the newly approved policies.



Urban breathing space

City park at heart of industrial hub positions itself as top tourism attraction

On a roll

Auto hub Changchun also sets its sight on taking lead in railway sector

The stage is set

The Edinburgh International Festival will have a Chinese flavor this year.

Peking Opera revival
25 years after Chernobyl
Luxury car show