Havana (CBS) - There are major changes in Cuba this morning. President Fidel Castro has submitted his official resgination.
A letter signed by him on the state newspaper website reads "I will
not aspire to nor accept the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief."
Castro's exact ailment and condition is closely guarded by the Cuban
government. Since falling ill, he has stayed out of public view, appearing only occasionally in photographs and videos released by the government to knock down rumors he was dead or dying.
His retirement draws the curtain on a political career that spanned the Cold War, survived the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis, and outlived the Soviet Empire.
"To his supporters, he's someone who led Cuba to literacy and healthy care. To his critics, he's someone who clearly was a violator of human rights", said CBS News foreign affairs analyst, Pamela Falk.
The announcement effectively ends his rule of almost 50 years over Cuba and positions his 76-year-old brother Raul for permanent succession to the presidency.
This resignation in a way is Castro leaving with a wimper and not a bang. He's clearly been ill for a while and this is a way to, if they can, transition into the next period of Cuban leadership," said Falk.
Raul Castro, the country's long standing defense minister, has largely been running the country since emergency surgery forced his older brother to delegate power in the summer of 2006.
This transition may set the stage for a great transformation down the road, but for the short term, no matter who takes the over in Havana now, little change is expected from the ironcald rule Cubans have grown used to.