Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba's military on Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma.
The resignation ends nearly a half-century of iron-fisted rule that inspired revolutionaries but frustrated 10 U.S. presidents.
Castro revealed his plans without advance notice by publishing a letter in the middle of the night in state-run newspaper Granma.
"I will not aspire to, nor will I accept the position of president of the council of state and commander-in-chief," Castro wrote. "I wish only to fight as a soldier of ideas. ... Perhaps my voice will be heard."The news is likely to send shock waves across the island and among the tens of thousands of Cubans who have sought refugee in the United States and other countries.