Thursday 27 April 2017

Fading Fidel now a flickering light in Cuban life

Fidel Castro, who turns 85 today, at a parade in Revolution Square in Havana in 2005. Photo: REUTERS
Fidel Castro, who turns 85 today, at a parade in Revolution Square in Havana in 2005. Photo: REUTERS

Jeff Franks

Revolutionary legend Fidel Castro turns 85 today, still an important figure in his communist-ruled Cuba, but increasingly a fading presence in the life of the country he ran for 49 years.

He gave up his last leadership post this year when he stepped down as head of the ruling Communist Party and has retreated further and further from public view.

His gradual slipping away appears to be a product of choice borne of necessity, but also of a transition plan to wean Cuba from its once near-total dependence on the charismatic comandante's leadership.

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