Castro Resigned As Head Of Communist Party In 2006, After All

Originally published on March 23, 2011 4:17 pm

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro caused a bit of an uproar, yesterday, when in a throw-away line in his column, he wrote that he had "without vacillation" resgined from his government positions as well as from his position as head of Cuba's Communist Party.

The AP notes that while it was clear that after Castro went in for emergency surgery in 2006, he ceded day-to-day operations to his brother Raul, it wasn't exactly popular knowledge that he had given up being the titular head:

No Cuban official has ever sought to clarify that the revolutionary icon no longer held the top Communist Party spot, and the party website still lists him as first secretary.

Today, the 84-year-old Castro took to the pages of the communist newspaper Gramma, again. He wrote that he was so engrossed with the situation in Libya and Barack Obama's role in it, that he didn't realize the gravity of his comments.

"As I recovered my health, progressively and partially," Castro wrote, "the idea or the need to proceed with the formality of expressly resigning from any of the posts never even occurred to me."

The Miami Herald puts the episode in context:

Castro's column Tuesday sparked commentaries that he was trying to bolster his brother's standing in advance of a crucial Communist Party Congress, the first since 1997, scheduled for next month.

The congress is expected to discuss and largely approve a string of market reforms that Raul is pushing forward as a way of making Cuba's economy self-sustaining.

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