Madrid hopes Castro's resignation will mark "beginning of change"
Both of Spain's main political parties yesterday welcomed the news that Fidel Castro had resigned as Cuban leader.20 February 2008
MADRID - Both of Spain's main political parties yesterday welcomed the news that Fidel Castro had resigned as Cuban leader.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jesús Caldera of the governing Socialist Party expressed hope that the Cuban leader's resignation will bring "reform" and "mark the beginning of change [in Cuba]."
The same hopes were echoed by Trinidad Jiménez, secretary of state for Latin America, who said that the news was of major importance but should "be weighed with care."
Mariano Rajoy, president of the conservative opposition Popular Party, expressed satisfaction over Castro's stepping down after a 49-year stint as Cuba's ruler.
In an interview with Punto Radio, Rajoy stated, however, that the news would have been even better if political matters really started to change in Cuba.
The PP leader described the news as "the beginning of democracy in Cuba."
The Communist-led United Left coalition, meanwhile took a more cautious line. IU's Gaspar Llamazares described the former strongman's resignation as "a sovereign decision" made by the Cuban people. He said that the best thing Spain could do now was to respect the Cuban people and their "sovereign institutions."
[Copyright EL PAÍS / Eugenia de la Torriente 2008]
Subject: Spanish news