HAVANA — Raul Castro was named first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party on Tuesday, and his aging brother Fidel was formally removed from the leadership for the first time since the party's creation 46 years ago.
Despite raising hopes during the gathering that a new generation of leaders was poised to take up important positions, the island's president announced that Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, an 80-year-old longtime confidant, would be his No. 2.
Ramiro Valdes, a 78-year-old vice president, was named to the No. 3 spot. Several younger politicians were added to the 15-member leadership group, but in lesser positions.
In his speech to the delegates, Raul said he would never abandon making necessary economic changes, but that he would only do so at a pace the country could handle.
"Modernizing the economic model is not a miracle that can be accomplished overnight like some believe," Raul told delegates, adding that he would never allow "the return of a capitalist regime."
Of his brother, Raul said he needed no formal title to continue being the country's guiding light.
"Fidel is Fidel," he said...
How pithy--and how true.