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Fidel Castro resigns

Last updated on: February 19, 2008 14:03 IST

Ending a dramatic and eventful tenure, Cuba's iconic President Fidel Castro announced his retirement on Tuesday.

In a letter published in the official Communist Party paper, the ailing leader said he would not return to the Cuban presidency, reports said.  

"I neither will aspire to nor will I accept -- I repeat -- I neither will aspire to nor will I accept, the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief," wrote the leader in the letter.

Castro handed over power temporarily to his brother, Raul, in July 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery.

The 81-year-old has been ruling Cuba since 1959.

Rediff News Bureau