Fidel Castro to retire?

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s dictator since 1959, hinted yesterday that he may be willing to hand over power to younger Cuban leaders. In a letter discussing the Bali summit on global warming, Castro wrote, “My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, or even less to obstruct the path of younger people, but to share experiences and ideas whose modest worth comes from the exceptional era in which I lived.”

Castro, now 81, handed over power to his younger brother, Raul, 16 months ago, and has not made a public appearance since that time in July, 2006, though he remains Cuba’s official president. Castro didn’t offer any specifics on when, or to whom, his power would eventually be transferred, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that Cuba will soon see fresh leadership.

While Castro’s Cuba has been occasionally praised for its health care system, Cuba has extensive economic problems (in part because of a US embargo) and Castro’s government has been intolerant of political dissent.

The next few years in Cuba will undoubtedly be times of great transition, so those wanting to see Castro’s Cuba should act fast. However, US travelers wishing to visit Cuba are out of luck (wink, wink), as travel there is strictly prohibited (nudge, nudge).