Cuba's Raul Castro confirms he's stepping down

Raul Castro confirmed Friday he is stepping down as the head of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most powerful position on the island, NBC news reported.

Cuba's Raul Castro confirms he's stepping down

Cuba's Raul Castro confirms he's stepping down

STEPANAKERT, APRIL 17, ARTSAKHPRESS: During a speech on the first day of the Communist Party's eighth congress, he said he would hand over power to a younger generation that is "full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit."

"I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live, I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism," Castro told party delegates at the closed-door meeting at a convention center in Havana.

He was retiring, Castro said, with the sense of having “fulfilled his mission and confident in the future of the fatherland.”

Though Castro did not name his successor during the speech, it's expected that a subsequent vote will ratify President Miguel Díaz-Canel as the next party secretary-general and set policy guidelines.

Many analysts believe Castro, who turns 90 in June, will continue to be the most influential figure on the island until his death.