In what appeared to be a farewell address to his Communist comrades, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said Tuesday in a trembling voice: “Everyone’s time comes but the Communist Cuban ideas will endure.”
The parting words were delivered at the closing session of Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), a gathering that serves as a sounding board for proposed economic and social guidelines for the nation.
Castro, who turns 90 in August, told some 1,000 delegates and nearly 300 guests at Havana’s Convention Center that “perhaps this will be one of the last times I speak in this room.” He also thanked them for the invitation and for giving him the honor of listening to the proceedings.
“I congratulate all of you and first, and foremost, comrad Raúl Castro for his magnificent effort,” the elder Castro said as television cameras panned across the room, caputuring the faces of crying women.
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“We will refine what we should improve, with utmost loyalty and united force, as [Cuban independence leaders] Martí, Maceo and Gómez did in an unstoppable march. The End,” Castro said to a long, standing ovation.
The Cuban leader showed up at the event donning his usual blue and white Adidas jogging attire. He looked frail and spoke in a feeble tone.
His brother, current leader Raúl Castro, who was ratified at the head of the Community Party, sent a similar message during his speech at the Congress on Saturday, stating that the Seventh Congress will be “the last led by the historic generation” of the revolution.
“The historic generation shall hand over the new pines, the flags of the revolution and socialism without the slightest hint of sadness or pessimism, with the pride of accomplishment, convinced that they will know to continue and enhance the revolutionary work,” Castro said, echoing a “new pines” reference originally made by Cuban hero José Martí.