By Jane Nambi
Fidel Castro, the retired Cuban leader appeared in public after disappearing from the public eye since his 2010 appearance.
Castro appeared in the Cuban polling station during the general election and was seen chatting freely with people. Castro, since 2006, has been voting from his home after he fell ill and ceding power to his brother, Rahul two years later.
At 86, Castro wears a white beard cast his ballot late afternoon in Havana. In a weak voice, Castro praised the elections saying, “The people are truly revolutionary, they have really sacrificed. We don’t have to prove it, history will. Fifty years of the blockade and they haven’t given in,” he said.
Cuba went to the polls to elect a Communist party-selected slate of 612 deputies to the national assembly and more than 1,000 delegates to provincial assemblies. President Raul Castro and other leaders were shown casting their ballots and commenting on the importance of the election as support for reforms and independence from the United States.
Raul Castro introduced, among other things, term limits of two five-year stints for top government posts. About 95% of Cuba’s 8.7 million residents over 16 were expected to vote.
The general election cycle began last year with the election of more than 15,000 ward delegates in the only vote in which residents choose between two or more candidates.