HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro is stepping down as Cuba's president
after nearly 50 years in power.
In a letter appearing in official state media, Castro says he
won't accept a new term when the new parliament meets on Sunday.
The 81-year-old also writes that his wishes have always been to
serve until his "last breath," but that it would be -- in his
words -- "a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility
requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to
Castro temporarily handed over power to his 76-year-old brother,
Raul, in July of 2006 when he announced that he underwent
intestinal surgery. Since then, he's been seen only in photos and
Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959 and reshaped Cuba into a
communist state. Except for monarchs, Castro is the world's longest
ruling head of state.