Fidel Castro Steps Down as Leader of Cuba - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fidel Castro Steps Down as Leader of Cuba

Damian Arzola Damian Arzola
Senator Mel Martinez Senator Mel Martinez
Armandno Garcia Armandno Garcia
Fidel Castro Fidel Castro

By Kristen Dalhgren

MIAMI (KHNL) -- He is one of the world's longest serving leaders and has outlasted nine U.S. Presidents.

But Tuesday, we got word Fidel Castro is stepping down as the leader of Cuba.

As the sun rose over Havana and word of Fidel Castro's resignation spread few in the U.S. saw it as the new day so many had been hoping for.

"Nothing changes everything remains the same," said Miami resident Damian Arzola.

After nearly five decades in power, the news is historic.

"I thought he would die in power, it's dramatic that he is today resigning," said Senator Mel Martinez.

But in Miami's Little Havana, even those who once fled the communist dictator were in no rush to celebrate.

"Let's see what happens, I'm skeptical," said Miami resident Armandno Garcia.

Castro made his announcement on a Cuban website overnight, saying he would not accept the positions of president or commander in chief because of failing health.

The ailing leader has only been seen in pictures and video since undergoing intestinal surgery back in 2006. Since then, his brother Raul has run the island nation and is expected to now officially take over.

The Bush Administration called Raul "Fidel- lite" and said there were no plans to lift the embargo on Cuba, though the president took time out of his trip to Africa to offer these words.

"I believe that the change from Fidel Castro ought to begin a period of a democratic transition,"said President Bush. 

No surprise, Fidel Castro may have a very different idea, saying his statement, was not his farewell..

And few believe it is, in any way, the end of his influence.

Fidel Castro is likely to remain a member of Cuba's Council of State.

The National Assembly is expected to elect Raul as its president this weekend.

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