Alexa

Former President Fidel Castro says his brother has 'all legal and constitutional faculties'

Former President Fidel Castro says his brother has 'all legal and constitutional faculties'

Fidel Castro said Friday his brother and president Raul has "all legal and constitutional faculties and prerogatives" to lead Cuba.
Fidel Castro's comments, apparently aimed at speculation that he still remains in charge and is directing his brother behind the scenes, came in the first comments he has published since Raul assumed the nation's top post last weekend.
"I reaffirm that I am detached from any post, as I expressed in my message" last week saying he would not seek a new presidential term, Castro said in the new essay, published on the online edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma.
Castro was the uncontested leader of the island for 49 years, even when his brother was governing provisionally for 19 months during his illness, before he stepped aside for good on Feb. 19.
Fidel wrote that both he and his brother were consulted when the parliament's nominating committee came up with the candidates for the Council of State, Cuba's supreme governing authority, elected by the new parliament on Sunday.
"That's not because I demanded to be consulted; it was the decision of Raul and of the principal leaders of the country to consult me," Castro wrote.
"At the same time it was my decision to ask the nominating commission that the list of candidates for the Council of State include Leopoldo Cintra Frias and Alvaro Lopez Miera," he said, referring to two key generals who have long been close to Raul.
The inclusion of Frias and Miera was interpreted by many Cubans, on and off the island, as an attempt to pack the council with military allies.
"This was not the fruit of Raul's supposed militaristic tendencies, nor was it about generations or parties fighting over .... power," the 81-year-old Castro wrote.
Castro also dismissed concerns about the advanced age of many added to the Council of State's ranks on Sunday. The two generals are "much younger than (U.S. Republican presidential candidate John) McCain and have much more experience as military chiefs," Castro added.
Cintra Frias is 66 and while Alvaro Lopez's age was not immediately available, he also appears to be in his 60s. McCain is 71 and will be 72 at the time of the Republican convention.
Castro granted provisional power to Raul on July 31, 2006 when he announced that he had undergone emergency intestinal surgery and he has not been seen in public since.
In assuming the presidency, the 76-year-old Raul had referred to his brother as the revolution's only commander in chief, even though Fidel had said he would relinquish the title and has since changed the name of his "Reflections of the Commander in Chief" column to "Reflections of Comrade Fidel." Friday's essay retained the "Comrade Fidel" title.
Raul had also requested _ and received _ permission from lawmakers on Sunday to consult with Fidel on "the decisions of special transcendence for the future of our nation" especially those involving "defense, foreign policy and socio-economic development."
In his Friday essay, Fidel also referred to the parliament's selection of 77-year-old Communist Party ideologue Jose Ramon Machado Ventura as the government's No. 2 man.
Many Cubans had expected the parliament to chose a much younger successor for Raul, and were stunned by the naming of a man known as a political hard-liner.
"You can now hear the howls of the wolves trapped by their tails," Fidel wrote. "What rabidness is provoked especially by the election of Machadito as first vice president" of the Council of State.