It's hard to look at the frail, bearded man below and see the iron-willed revolutionary-turned-despot who overthrew the U.S.-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista, drove the American mafia out of Havana, browbeat and outfoxed U.S. Presidents from Kennedy to Clinton, partnered to his advantage with the Russian bear Khrushchev, and locked up thousands of his countrymen in prisons renowned throughout the world for excellence in torture and summary execution.
'Remember this, Raul: I nationalized health care in 1961, and it took a stroke 50 years later to push me out of office.' (Photo: Desmond Boylan/Reuters)
Fidel Castro has stepped down as first secretary of the Cuban ruling party's Central Committee. Cuba's Communist Party convened at the sixth Cuban Communist Party (PCC) congress in Havana April 19 and chose Fidel's younger brother, President Raul Castro, and First Vice President Jose Machado Ventura to oversee a new economic course for the Caribbean island.
With the USSR splintered and Communism crawling off to die, Castro the younger has a daunting task ahead. If he stumbles, Cuba's people will take the fall—something they have surely tired of by now.