After the long uncertainty about the return of Fidel Castro and his duties as the head of Cuba, the news that he would decline to be elected President of the State Council in the upcoming elections on February 24, has given the impression that he has retired from power.

However, in his message dated February 18 but published on the 19th, he merely states that he will not accept reelection to the posts of Chairman of the State Council and Commander in Chief.  He says nothing about the detail that he is also the first secretary of Communist Party of Cuba which, under Article 5 of the Constitution, “is the leading force of society and the State.”

It is significant that in this message Fidel Castro doesn’t even allude to the Party in any of paragraphs where one would suppose he would have had to mention it, for example, where he recalls the proclamation of July 31, 2007, when he also handed over to his brother Raúl in a “provisional” form his responsibility as head of the PCC [Communist Party of Cuba], or when talking about the organizations that have been built up over the years.

The fact that this announcement was made just five days before the election gives the impression that the proposal from the Electoral Commission, which was being taken up with the 614 people elected as deputies to the new parliament, already excluded his name.  Had it not, it would have been necessary to revisit the consultation on the candidates for the Council of State.  Who then is the first name that will appear on the ballot?  Many are betting on Raúl Castro, but one can expect surprises.