Published 4:51 PM EDT, Fri April 16, 2021
Former Cuban president Raul Castro has stepped down as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most powerful position in the country. The brother of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro assumed the title in 2011.
Born in 1931, Castro stood by his brother as they successfully overthrew the government of dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. He served as Fidel's right hand man for decades, including as defense minister during the CIA-led Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
In 2008, Raul was chosen by Cuba's National Assembly to replace Fidel as president after his brother resigned from the position. In 2018, he stepped down as president and called for limiting presidential terms to two five-year terms.
On April 16, in remarks that were transmitted on Cuban state TV, Castro said that he had faith in a new generation of officials, who gave him a standing ovation.
Pounding a lectern, Castro said he would continue "fighting" to defend the Cuban Revolution and that "nothing forced" him to retire as leader of the party. Castro's replacement is expected to be picked during the four-day Congress.