Fidel Castro Retires from the Cuban Presidency after nearly 50 years

Published in LA Times, By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
1:34 AM PST, February 19, 2008

Cuban leader Fidel Castro told compatriots early today that he would not accept another term as president, throwing open the Communist-ruled island’s leadership for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Castro, 81, and ailing with an undisclosed intestinal disorder, announced in a statement carried on the state-run Granma International newspaper website early today that he was stepping down as head of state.