16:24 GMT16 May 2021
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    The Cuban politician previously signalled he was planning to resign from the post, which he assumed in 2011 after several decades of his brother Fidel's leadership. Castro is expected to hand over the reins to Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

    Raul Castro is stepping down as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the official newspaper Granma reported, citing his announcement made at the party's congress in the capital Havana.

    "The General of the Army said that he was pleased to hand over the leadership of the country to a group of trained leaders, seasoned by decades of experience ... committed to the ethics of the Revolution, identified with the history and culture of the nation", the newspaper said.

    Castro is expected to officially resign from his duties this weekend. His resignation heralds the end of the "Castro era" in the Caribbean nation that has continued uninterrupted since 1959, when his older brother Fidel came to power before transferring his duties to Raul in 2006.

    In 2011, Raul Castro was officially elected the first secretary, and was re-elected in 2016.

    The announcement comes during the party's congress that is expected to wrap up on 19 April, when Castro's successor will be announced. Incumbent Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel is expected to assume the post.

    Tags:
    resignation, Raul Castro, Cuba
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