'I am detached from any post,' Fidel Castro says
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro affirmed on Friday that he is "detached from any post," apparently taking aim at speculation he is still holding onto power from behind the scenes.
The comment, made in the online edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma, was his first since writing in the same paper last weekend that his 76-year-old brother Raul had permanently assumed the country's top post.
In his latest statement, he said his brother has "all legal and constitutional faculties and prerogatives" to lead the Caribbean island as president.
"I reaffirm that I am detached from any post," Fidel wrote.
Castro, 81, was the leader of the communist country for 49 years, but his brother had been acting president since July 31, 2006, after Fidel fell ill.
Fidel also wrote about how he and his brother were both consulted when the Cuban parliament's nominating committee came up with candidates for the Council of State, the communist country's supreme governing authority. The council was elected by the parliament on Sunday.
Fidel took part in nominating 2 generals
Fidel said he did not ask to be consulted, but it was "decision of Raul and of the principal leaders of the country" to do so.
But he acknowledged that he did request that the nominating commission include on the candidates list two key generals long close to Raul.
The inclusion of generals Leopoldo Cintra Frias and Alvaro Lopez Miera has been interpreted by many Cubans as an attempt to pack the council with military allies.
"This was not the fruit of Raul's supposed militaristic tendencies, nor was it about generations or parties fighting over ... power," Castro wrote.
On Thursday, Cuba signed two key international human rights treaties that Fidel had long opposed. However, the decision to do so was announced by Fidel while still president back in December.
At that time, he had government television re-air his objections to the accords on civil, political and economic rights in case Cubans had forgotten his opposition.
While Havana still expressed some reservations about some of the provisions in the treaties, the government formally signed the documents four days after Raul permanently replaced his brother.
With files from the Associated Press