Fidel Castro has not been seen in public for 16 months
Cuba's ailing communist leader, Fidel Castro, has said he has a duty not to hold on to power or obstruct the rise of younger people.
Correspondents say the letter read on state TV is the first suggestion that the 81-year-old president may give up his position in Cuba's leadership.
Last year he handed over power to his brother Raul on a temporary basis.
Since then, he has not made a public appearance - although the government has released pictures of Mr Castro.
In the letter released on Monday, he said his duty was not to cling to office but "to pass on experiences and ideas whose modest value arises from the exceptional era in which I lived".
The message was delivered during Cuba's main nightly current affairs programme, Mesa Redonda.
The BBC's Michael Voss in Havana says this is not a formal letter of resignation, and there is no indication about how or when the Cuban leader might step down.
Born in 1926 to a wealthy, landowning family
Took up arms in 1953, six years before coming to power
Brother Raul was deputy and Che Guevara third in command
Has outlasted nine American presidents
Target of many CIA assassination plots
Daughter is a dissident exile in Miami
The mention of younger leaders suggests that younger brother Raul - who is 76 - may not automatically succeed the president, our correspondent says.
Fidel Castro has ruled Cuba since leading the 1959 revolution.
Earlier this month he was nominated as a candidate for a seat in Cuba's National Assembly - a move seen as an indication that he might still hope for a return to power.
Mr Castro must be re-elected to the assembly if he is to remain president of the Council of State.
Nationwide elections will be held on 20 January.
The newly elected parliament will then choose the Council of State, which President Fidel Castro has headed since the early 1960s.
Mr Castro stepped aside after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006.
Since then he has made his presence felt through regular newspaper editorials.
In Monday's message, Mr Castro paid tribute to the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who turned 100 on Saturday.
"I think like Niemeyer that you have to be of consequence up to the end," he wrote.
The comments came in the final paragraph of a letter dealing with this month's climate change conference in Bali.
nijuavyo mie kuwa huyu jamaa alijiweka as raisi wa maisha dats why hata akiwa mahututi still ni raisi wao!?amam m wrong?
hata asipokwepo anayeshika madaraka si yule sijui ndugu yake sijui nani yake???still twarudi kule kule kwenye y dikteta
Staff and agencies
Tuesday December 18, 2007
Cuba's ailing leader, Fidel Castro, has hinted at possible retirement, saying he does not want to "cling" to power.
In a letter read out by Cuban state television last night, the 81 year old - who has not been seen in public for 16 months after undergoing intestinal surgery - said he did not want to stand in the way of younger leaders.
"My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, or even less to obstruct the path of younger people, but to share experiences and ideas whose modest worth comes from the exceptional era in which I lived," Castro wrote in the final paragraph of the lengthy letter, which mainly discussed the Bali summit on global warming.
Some commentators interpreted the comments as indicating that Castro, Cuba's unchallenged leader since 1959, could be preparing the way for a handover of power. Following the surgery in July 2006, Castro temporarily ceded power to his younger brother, Raul.
However, the Cuban leader has made similar comments previously, including before his illness. Elsewhere in the latter, Castro also invoked the example of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who has just celebrated his 100th birthday.
"I think like Niemeyer that you have to be of consequence up to the end," Castro wrote in the letter, among regular pieces he still produces for Cuba's state media.
Castro remains the president of Cuba's Council of State, making him the country's official head of government. He is also a candidate for re-election as a deputy to the country's parliament on January 20.
When the parliament re-elected Castro to his sixth term as Council of State president in March 2003, he said he would stay power only as long as he felt he was contributing.
"I promise that I will be with you, if you so wish, for as long as I feel that I can be useful - and if it is not decided by nature before - not a minute less and not a second more ... Now I understand that it was not my destiny to rest at the end of my life."
HAVANA, Cuba (ACN): Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias arrived in Havana this Monday afternoon, to hold talks with top Cuban government officials on the aggravating world crisis and the bilateral relations between his country and Cuba.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) is greeted by Cuban Vice-President, Carlos Lage (3-R), and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Felipe Perez Roque (2-R), at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. AFP PHOTO
Chavez was welcomed at Havana's International Airport by Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage Davila and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.
In statements to the press, Chavez said he comes to explore new initiatives with Fidel and Raul Castro, since every revolution is based on creativity.
The Cuban and Venezuelan Revolutions are advancing satisfactorily, and the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) is providing increasing opportunities within the region, said the Venezuelan Head of State.
Cuban television is showing images on Tuesday of Fidel Castro speaking to his brother Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Cuban television is showing images of Fidel Castro chatting in a garden with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the first images of the ailing revolutionary broadcast in six months.
The 81-year-old Castro looks thinner, and his hair and beard are much whiter in the video images, which did not include any audio. But he nevertheless looks vigorous and animated as he talks with his younger brother, President Raul Castro, and Chavez.
He is dressed in a white running jacket with red and blue trim in the images broadcast Tuesday.
Pundit, kuna mabadiliko mengi sana yameanza kutokea ndani ya Cuba baada ya Raoul kushika usukani. Siasa za ndani na nje walizonazo soon zitaanza kujulikana na mwelekeo wao pia kueleweka (je, u-communist utabakia?!) ...Na bila shaka, maongezi na ushirikiano wa US na Cuba umeanza kushika mkondo mpya... kitu cha kusisimua kwa sasa ni kule kujua mrengo wa US juu ya Cuba ya sasa...
From what I hear and read thie man resigned and his younger Bro. Raul Castro(Jina kama drug dealer) stepped in to replace him then elections took place and he was elected the new president of Cuba.The recent development I picked from Cuba is he allowed the use of Cellphones.
mie nilionaga one day bbc wakisikia huyo mdogoye since alipoingia madarakani kachange mambo angalau nw pipo are allowed to buy sijui dvd players,mobile phones zamani ilikua hairuhusiwi!!!
fidel castro mus b hoi somewhere