Cuban Leader Raul Castro Says He Will Retire in 2018

Cuban leader Raul Castro has announced his plans for retirement after his second term ends in 2018, reports Reuters. The announcement came on Sunday, in a nationally broadcast speech shortly after the Cuban National Assembly elected him to a second five-year term in the opening session of the new parliament. The 81-year-old made it clear, stating: "This will be my last term."

In a surprising move, the new parliament named Miguel Diaz-Canel as Castro's first vice president, the number one VP position. He replaces former first vice president Jose Machado Ventura, 82, who will move to a position as one of five vice presidents. Diaz-Canel is a member of the political bureau who rose through the party ranks and becomes the most visible possible successor to Castro. He will succeed Castro if Castro cannot serve his complete term. 

Castro starts his second term immediately, and will be 86 when he retires. Former president Fidel Castro joined the meeting and broadcast in a rare public appearance since seceding his presidency to his elder brother due to failing health.