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Castro Says He Will Not Obstruct New Leaders


Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public in more than 16 months because of ill health, says that he will not obstruct the rise of a new generation of leaders.

In a letter read on Cuban television Monday, Mr. Castro said his elemental duty is not to hold onto positions, or stand in the way of younger people.

It was the first suggestion from the 81-year-old Castro that he might step down permanently from the presidency. He handed over power to his brother, Raul, in July 2006 to undergo surgery, but said the move was temporary. He has yet to reclaim presidential powers.

Fidel Castro has since appeared in official photographs and videos and regularly is credited with essays on international themes. Details of his health have been kept secret by the Cuban government.

The Cuban leader seized power in a 1959 revolution.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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