February 19, 2008


Bush demands democracy as Fidel Castro quits (Bonnie Malkin, 19/02/2008, Daily Telegraph)

US President George Bush has hinted at a possible reconciliation with Cuba following the resignation of Fidel Castro, describing the step as an opportunity for a "democratic transition" in the country.

Speaking a news conference in Rwanda, Mr Bush said: "I believe that the change from Fidel Castro ought to begin a period of a democratic transition."

Putting forward the promise of an end to the 46 year blockade of the island nation, the American president promised that he stood ready to help Cubans realise the "blessings of liberty."

"Eventually this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections, and I mean free and I mean fair, not these kind of staged elections that the Castro brothers try to foist off as being true democracy," he said.

Only Kim Jong-il, Hugo Chavez, and Baby Assad to go.

Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba’s President (JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr., 2/20/08, NY Times)

Fidel Castro stepped down Tuesday morning as the president of Cuba after a long illness, ending one of the longest tenures as one of the most all-powerful communist heads of state in the world, according to Granma, the official publication of the Cuban Communist Party.

In late July 2006, Mr. Castro, who is 81, handed over power temporarily to his brother, Raúl Castro, 76, and a few younger cabinet ministers, after an acute infection in his colon forced him to undergo emergency surgery. Despite numerous surgeries, he has never fully recovered but has remained active in running government affairs from behind the scenes.

Now, just days before the national assembly is to meet to select a new head of state, Mr. Castro resigned permanently in a letter to the nation and signaled his willingness to let a younger generation assume power. He said his failing health made it impossible to return as president.


Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2008 7:21 AM

Does anyone think he's still alive? I think he died a long time ago and the ruling junta finally figured out how to split up his billions among themselves and their friends before allowing the rest of the world in.

Posted by: erp at February 19, 2008 11:51 AM

When I checked my email first thing in the morning I had a note from my brother that read:

"Call up Old Man Roth and Michael--we're building the Havana casino..."

Thinking Castro was dead, I was disappointed to find out that he had only resigned.

Casino plans still on hold I guess til he's in the ground and Raul is swining from a lamppost.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 19, 2008 12:00 PM

You forgot Mugabe.

Posted by: Ben Lange at February 19, 2008 1:24 PM