Sunday, February 24, 2008

A brief note from hell

HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro on Saturday rejected the idea of major political change after Cuba's parliament chooses a new president—his final published comments as the nation's longtime leader.

The article on the front page of the Communist Party newspaper Granma was one of a flurry of recent columns and announcements from Castro, who is retiring after 49 years as head of Cuba.

Writing under his new title, "Comrade Fidel," the 81-year-old Castro scoffed at suggestions in news reports that his retirement, announced Tuesday, would lead to political changes aided by Cuban exiles in the United States.

"The reality is otherwise," Castro wrote. He quoted approvingly from other articles that said his retirement showed the failure of U.S. officials to affect Cuba's political transition.

Castro said he would now lay his pen aside until lawmakers decide Sunday on his replacement as president of the island's supreme governing authority, the Council of State. Castro's 76-year-old brother Raul, the defense minister, is his constitutionally designated successor as first vice president, and is widely expected to be named president.

The younger Castro has headed Cuba's caretaker government for 19 months, since Fidel announced he had undergone emergency intestinal surgery and was provisionally ceding his powers.

In a separate report, Granma said "all the conditions have been created" for Sunday's meeting of the 614-member parliament, whose members were elected on Jan. 20. Renewed every five years, the parliament known as the National Assembly is charged at its first gathering with selecting a new 31-member Council of State headed by the president.

Fidel Castro has held the position of president since the current government structure was created in 1976. For 18 years before that, he was prime minister—a post that no longer exists.

He will remain the head of the Communist Party and a member of the National Assembly, to which he was re-elected to last month.

The AP writes with apparent straight face about Castro being "re-elected" and they expect us to take anything else they say seriously?

Note to my fellow Republicans. You have allowed this same media that wants us to believe that Castro was legitimately elected while Bush stole the 2000 election to select our 2008 presidential candidate for us. I hope you're proud of yourselves.