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Fidel Castro Issues New Year's Message


Cuban leader Fidel Castro has sent a New Year's message urging Cubans to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution that brought him to power nearly 50 years ago.

In the statement read on state television Monday, Mr. Castro praised Cubans for what he called their record of resistance to the United States.

The ailing Cuban leader came to power after dictator Fulgencio Batista was toppled on January 1, 1959.

The 81-year-old Mr. Castro has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery and transferring power to his younger brother, Raul, in July 2006. Fidel Castro has appeared only in photographs and videos since then.

In December, state television read a letter from Mr. Castro in which he said he would not obstruct the rise of a new generation of leaders. It was the first suggestion from Mr. Castro that he might permanently step down from the presidency.

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