14 May, 2021

The Other Castro

Raul bows out, deadpan as ever, but with a resonant adios: “As long as I live, I will be ready with a foot in the stirrup to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism.”

The Other Castro

For most of his life, Raul Castro played second-string to his brother Fidel—first as a guerrilla commander, later as a senior figure in their socialist government. But for the past decade, Raul has been the face of communist Cuba, its defiance of US efforts to oust its socialist system—and its efforts to forge a rapprochement with its longtime foe. The younger Castro, now 89, formally announced on April 16 that he would step down as first secretary of the island’s Communist Party, leaving the Caribbean nation without a Castro in an official position of command for the first time since the earliest days of the revolution that took power more than six decades ago. “I concluded my task as first secretary... with the satisfaction of having fulfilled (my duty) and confidence in the future of the fatherland,” he said at the eighth party congress—a typically terse, to-the-point finale that contrasted with the impassioned verbal pyrotechnics of his brother, who died in 2016.

The fourth of seven children of a Spanish immigrant in eastern Cuba,...

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