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Cuban Leader 'Stood by His Convictions'

People in Cuba woke up Tuesday to the news that Fidel Castro is stepping down as president and commander-in-chief.

The announcement came overnight in the online edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma. For five decades, Castro led Cuba, transforming the island nation into a communist stronghold 90 miles from the United States.

"Once he became convinced of any of his projects, despite whatever evidence, despite whatever arguments against that project, he stood by his convictions and he would go on and on regardless of everything and everyone," said Domingo Amuchastegui, who served under Castro in the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Cuba's National Assembly is expected to nominate Castro's younger brother and chosen successor, Raul Castro, as president.

Still, Castro will stay on as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party, and he told fellow Cubans in his message Tuesday, "My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas."

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