Fidel Castro steps down

The communist dictator had ruled Cuba since 1959.

Published February 19, 2008 2:56PM (EST)

Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president Tuesday, ending an almost 50-year term that made him, excluding monarchs, the world's longest-serving head of state. He came to power in 1959 after leading a revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Castro has been ailing recently, leading to much speculation over the past months and years over who would replace him. For the moment, it will most likely be his brother Raúl, who is first vice president.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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