CUBA | COMMUNIST PARTY CONGRESS

Fidel Castro makes silent public appearance in Havana

 

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In a surprise public appearance, Fidel Castro attended the Communist Party's Central Committee Tuesday morning in Havana.

Fidel walked in clutching his aide's arm, and looked fragile in a navy blue and white track suit.

He remained silent, and there were tears in some of the eyes of the delegates in attendance who were hoping for his speech at the Sixth Cuban Communist Party Congress meeting.

Raul Castro, who was named the first secretary of the party, announced the new leaders, many of whom were members of the old guard. Some Afro-Cubans and a woman, Mercedes Lopez, were included.

Fidel slumped in his chair during his brother's 30 minute speech.

"Fidel is Fidel and does not need to hold political office to always have a top place in the history, present and future of the Cuban nation," said Raul.

In a column published Monday, Castro, 84, announced he won’t be part of the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Fidel handed over its leadership to brother Raul in 2006 due to his bad health. He had been the leader of the organization since it was founded in 1965.

He also said in the column that he had asked his brother to also exclude from the list of candidates, members who due to "old age and health complications" were unable to be of service.

Cuba's first vice president José Ramón Machado Ventura, 80, was named second secretary.

As delegates shouted his name, Castro required assistance to walk out of the theater.

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