Raul Castro announced Sunday that his new presidential term would be his last as the “founding generation” of Cuba’s 1959 revolution gives “new generations the responsibility to continue building socialism.”

The 81-year-old brother of Fidel Castro tapped 52-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel to be his top lieutenant and possible successor. “This will be my last term,” Raul Castro said in a firm voice.

Raul Castro, who took over from now 86-year-old Fidel in 2006, said he hopes to establish a limit of two terms and age restrictions for holders of political office, including the presidency, though he didn’t offer details. He confirmed that Cuba would remain socialistic, saying he had not become president to demolish the country’s economic system.

“I was not chosen to be president to restore capitalism to Cuba,” he said. “I was elected to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism, not destroy it.”

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Huffington Post:

On the streets of Havana, where people often express a jaded skepticism of all things political, there was genuine excitement.

… “I’m mesmerized,” added Regla Blanco, 48. “You thought that with all these old men, it would never end. I am very satisfied with what Raul said. He is keeping his promise.”

… the promise of a change at the top could have deep significance for U.S.-Cuba ties. The wording of Washington’s 51-year economic embargo on the island specifies that it cannot be lifted while a Castro is in charge.

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