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Fidel Castro gives rare speech saying he's nearing the end

Published:Thursday | April 21, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Fidel Castro addresses delegates on the last day of the 7th Cuban Communist Party Congress in Havana, Cuba.

HAVANA (AP):

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro delivered a valedictory speech on Tuesday to the Communist Party that he put in power a half-century ago, telling party members he is nearing the end of his life and exhorting them to help his ideas survive.

"I'll be 90 years old soon," Castro said in his most extensive public appearance in years. "Soon I'll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervour and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without a truce to obtain them."

Castro spoke as the government announced that his brother Ra?l will retain the Cuban Communist Party's highest post alongside his hardline second-in-command. That announcement and Fidel Castro's speech together delivered a resounding message that the island's revolutionary generation will remain in control even as its members age and die, relations with the United States are normalised, and popular dissatisfaction grows over the country's economic performance.