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Ex-Cuban President Fidel Castro speaks of death in final speech

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Cuba’s long-time former president, Fidel Castro has hinted that death may be near in his final speech to Communist Party congress as he calls on party stalwarts to preserve party ideals.

Castro emerged from seclusion on Tuesday to muse about death and provide encouragement to his followers in a rare speech delivered in the capital, Havana, while also calling for safeguarding communist ideals.

The leader of the 1959 revolution, which overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, said: “Soon I will be 90 years old,” he said. “Soon I will be like all the rest. Everybody’s turn comes,” Castro, whose birthday is August 13, told 1,300 party activists gathered at a Havana convention centre where he delivered countless, hours-long speeches during his rule.

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Castro held power for nearly five decades before ill health led him to make way for his brother Raul Castro, 84, in 2006 also noted that; “Perhaps this will be one of the last times I speak in this room,” said Castro, sporting a blue tracksuit jacket, glasses and wispy grey beard.

“The ideas of Cuban Communists will remain,” he said, “as proof that on this planet, if you work hard and with dignity, you can produce the material and cultural goods human beings need.”

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