October 13, 1997 in Nation/World

Castro Says Brother Should Lead Next

Associated Press

In rare comments about Cuba’s leadership after he dies, President Fidel Castro has endorsed his brother Raul as his successor and urged the party to be unified in maintaining communism.

“We have to guarantee the revolution,” Castro said in a four-hour speech at the close of the Fifth Communist Party Congress. The Friday speech was broadcast Sunday by Cuban state television.

Castro said the party was fortunate that his 66-year-old brother was the No. 2 man.

“Raul is younger than I, more energetic than I,” the 71-year-old Cuban leader said. “He can count on much more time.”

Castro made it clear his brother was his choice in an unusually explicit discussion of Cuban succession, one that seem aimed at rumors Castro suffers from ill health, though he made no reference to that and Cuban officials have denied it.

Raul Castro is vice president of the government and head of the armed forces. He accompanied his older brother in the revolution that brought Castro to power, and was more closely allied with communists than was his brother at the start of the revolt.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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