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Castro's Shift Brings Muted Reactions, Doubts

In Havana, a Cuban man reads the official daily <em>Granma</em> with a message from Cuban President Fidel Castro on its front page announcing his resignation.
Adalberto Roque
/
AFP/Getty Images
In Havana, a Cuban man reads the official daily Granma with a message from Cuban President Fidel Castro on its front page announcing his resignation.

Cuban-Americans in South Florida had little reaction to the news that Fidel Castro is stepping down as president of Cuba.

After 49 years in power, Castro announced in the Communist Party newspaper Granma that he will not stand for another term as president.

As many as 1.5 million Cuban-Americans live in the United States; two-thirds of them are in Florida, and the majority of those are in Miami-Dade County. And many of the Cuban-Americans, whose families were forced out of Cuba, have longed for the end of the Castro regime.

But so far, there has been no party in the street over the news that Fidel Castro is retiring.

"It's another one of those, you know, crafty spin campaigns that he always puts out," said Mario Gonzales Posa. "Until we actually see him in a coffin, I think we won't have any hopes."

In July 2006, Fidel Castro handed over interim power to his brother, Defense Minster Raul Castro. Fidel Castro reportedly had an intestinal illness, but he has not been seen in public since then — and Raul Castro has made the day-to-day decisions.

Raul Castro is expected to be elected Cuba's new leader when the National Assembly meets Sunday.

Castro's decision to resign also failed to impress the U.S. government. Within hours of the announcement, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said that the United States is not lifting its embargo on Cuba anytime soon.

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