Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Fidel Quits After 49 Years
HAVANA - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro stepped down Tuesday 49 years after taking power in an armed revolution, closing the book on a Cold War career that turned him into a leftist icon and a tyrant to his foes.
Mr. Castro, 81, who has not appeared in public since undergoing stomach surgery almost 19 months ago, said he would not seek a new term as president or leader of Cuba's armed forces when the National Assembly meets Sunday.
The charismatic Mr. Castro led the bearded and cigar-chomping guerrillas who swept down from the mountains of eastern Cuba to overthrow U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.