Raul Castro
Raul Castro Reuters

Raul Castro announced his resignation as leader of Cuba's Communist party, ending the Castro family's decade's-long reign over Cuba.

Castro, 89, made the announcement in a speech at the party's eight convention, stating that he had “fulfilled his mission and [was] confident in the future of the fatherland.”

Castro did not indicate that he would support a particular candidate as a successor. However, he is believed to support Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded him as president in 2018

The Castro family has ruled Cuba since 1959, when Raul's brother Fidel seized control of the island nation and installed a Communist dictatorship, with the Communist party the only political party allowed in the country. Tensions with the US remained high for the entirety of Fidel's reign, but reached a peak during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when the Soviet Union sought to install nuclear-capable missile in Cuba, less than 100 miles off the coast of Florida.

Over one million Cuban exiles who fled persecution under the Castro regime currently live in the US, the vast majority of whom live in Florida.

Raul Castro came to power when Fidel resigned from many of his positions in 2006 and turned them over to his younger brother, including First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, President of the Council of State of Cuba (head of state), President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Castro presided over efforts to normalize relations with the US during former President Obama's second term. The efforts saw the lifting of US sanctions on Cuba and the opening of full diplomatic relations between the countries. Many of those gains were reversed by the Trump Administration, which imposed sanctions on Castro and barred him from entering the US in 2019 over his support for the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and human rights abuses in Cuba.

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