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Castro confirms he is passing Cuban Communist Party leadership to new generation

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Cuban First Secretary of Communist Party Raul Castro Ruz gives a speech at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba

HAVANA (Reuters) - Raul Castro confirmed he was handing over the leadership of the all-powerful Cuban Communist Party to a younger generation that was "full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit" at its congress that kicked off on Friday.

In a speech opening the four day closed door event, excerpts of which were broadcast on state television, Castro, 89, said he had the satisfaction of handing over the leadership to a group of party loyalists that had decades of experience working their way up the ranks.

"I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism," Castro told hundreds of party delegates gathered at a convention center in Havana.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta; Editing by Chris Reese)

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