Acting Cuban President Raul Castro says his ailing brother Fidel is "irreplaceable" - unless he is replaced by the entire Cuban Communist Party.
Raul Castro spoke Wednesday at a meeting of the University Student Federation in Havana. He told the students that he never planned to copy his brother when he assumed leadership in July.
He also said the Cuban revolutionary generation has a duty to pass the leadership on to a younger generation, whether it wants to or not.
Friday, Cuba's parliament meets. It will be only the second meeting of the Cuban parliament in 30 years without Fidel Castro's attendance.
Fidel Castro made his brother acting president in late July while recovering from intestinal surgery. Details of his health are closely guarded. Raul Castro did not comment on Fidel's health during his remarks.
The director of U.S. national intelligence, John Negroponte, has said Mr. Castro is very ill and could die within months rather than years.