Cuba's president Raul Castro says he will retire in 5 years
Cuba is at a moment of "historic transcendence,\'\' Castro told lawmakers in speaking of his decision to name Diaz-Canel to the No. 2 job, replacing the 81-year-old Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, who fought with the Castros in the Sierra Maestra.
Castro praised Machado Ventura and another aging revolutionary for offering to leave their positions so that younger leaders could move up.
Their selflessness is "a concrete demonstration of their genuine revolutionary fiber ... That is the essence of the founding generation of this revolution.\'\'
Castro said that Diaz-Canel\'s promotion "represents a definitive step in the configuration of the future leadership of the nation through the gradual and orderly transfer of key roles to new generations.\'\'
"Our greatest satisfaction is the tranquility and serene confidence we feel as we deliver to the new generations the responsibility to continue building socialism,\'\' he added.
On the streets of Havana, where people often express a jaded skepticism of all things political, there was genuine excitement.
"This is the start of a new era,\'\' said Roberto Delgado, a 68-year-old retiree walking down a street in the leafy Miramar neighborhood. "It will undoubtedly be a complicated and difficult process, but something important happened today.\'\'
"I\'m mesmerized,\'\' added Regla Blanco, 48. "You thought that with all these old men, it would never end. I am very satisfied with what Raul said. He is keeping his promise.\'\'
Since taking over from Fidel in 2006, Castro has instituted a
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