CIA failed to kill old Communist leaders, Cuban lawmaker says

The head of Cuba’s legislature, Ricardo Alarcon, says he knows why his country has such old leaders — the CIA never managed to assassinate them.

Alarcon made the comments during an interview after the ruling Communist Party’s first Congress in 14 years unveiled a newly selected Political Buro last week whose ages averaged 68.

Raul Castro, 79, replaced his 84-year-old brother Fidel as first secretary. José Ramón Machado Ventura, 80, was named second secretary. The party’s No. 3, Ramiro Valdés, turned 79 Thursday.

Alarcon, 73 and head of the National Assembly of People’s Power, acknowledged in the interview with the Web site Progreso Semanal that the island’s leadership needs rejuvenation.

“But, well, what can we do?” he said. “The revolution is already 52 years old (and) from the start, an essential part of the policy promoted by the United States was the physical liquidation of the Cuban leaders.”

“Because they failed, there’s a lot of us left. So, what are we going to do? Self-destruct? In other words, do what the CIA couldn’t do?” Alarcon added. “There is no need to remove an octogenarian from the (party’s) Central Committee just because the Empire couldn’t kill him earlier.”

The text of the interview did not indicate whether Alarcon was joking or being serious, but he went on to complain that news reports on Cuba’s “gerontocracy” failed to note younger party members in lower leadership posts.

“Why don’t they talk about the majority of the Central Committee members, who were born” after the Castro revolution’s victory in 1959, he asked.

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