For the first time in nearly fifty years as president of Cuba, Fidel Castro has been forced to hand over power, albeit temporarily. In a statement read out on television, it was announced that the 79-year-old president needed surgery on his intestines. His condition has been attributed to extreme stress after he overexerted himself on a trip this month. The operation will force Castro to rest for several weeks. In the interim, he has delegated his posts to Raul Castro, his 75-year-old younger brother and designated successor. Castro’s health has been an issue since he fainted during a speech in 2001. Three years ago he stumbled during another speech, fracturing a knee and an arm.
While Cubans have apparently accepted the handover, celebrations have immediately erupted in Miami, a hotbed of opposition to the Communist government.