Tuesday, August 1, 2006
President Fidel Castro of Cuba has temporarily handed duties, including command of the military forces, to his brother, Raúl Castro. Fidel Castro is undergoing intestinal surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding, and is temporarily unable to govern. 75-year-old Raúl Castro has been the Vice-President of Cuba and number two in the Communist Party of Cuba. Fidel Castro is 79 years old and has ruled since the 1959 revolution.
The power change was reported on Cuban television Monday night by Carlos Balenciago, Castro’s secretary. According to the letter of Castro’s that he read, the reason for the operation was stress and the President of Cuba will need to spend several weeks in bed.
Over 70% of Cuba’s population was born after Castro’s rise to power, who has served as president ever since. It is unknown how the population will react to such an unexpected change. However, a recently signed White House bill has allocated $30 million US dollars for the transition to a new Cuban regime in the case of just such an event.