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Analysts: Castro still in political picture

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  • Fidel Castro going from "commander in chief to commentator in chief," analyst says
  • Another analyst calls move "a restructuring of power within the government"
  • One expert predicts "you'll see a younger leadership in the future"
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(CNN) -- Fidel Castro's resignation does not mean the longtime ruler is bowing out of Cuba's political life, analysts say.

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Fidel Castro is expected to continue to play a role as an adviser on Cuban affairs.

"Fidel Castro will continue to play a significant role in Cuba as an adviser, as the village elder who expresses opinion in articles, who gives sight as to where the country should go," said Luis Carlos Nino, an economic and political analyst on Latin America for Global Insight, a risk-assessment firm based in London, England.

"I don't see Castro pulling the strings on details on the planning and executing of the government's daily activities."

Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst for the nongovernmental National Security Archive at George Washington University, said he agreed.

"He is going from being commander in chief to commentator in chief in that he's going to continue to write an opinion column for the Communist Party newspaper," Kornbluh said.

"So while he's resigning from office, he certainly is not resigning from being a participant in Cuba's future." Video Watch what Castro's resignation means for Cuba »

Castro, 81, handed over many of his presidential powers to his brother Raúl after becoming ill in July 2006. For some analysts, the president's announcement Tuesday marks the second in a two-stage transformation of power in Cuba and isn't a surprise at all.

It's a "consolidation of that transition in power" that does not mean "the end of Fidel Castro on the political scene ... but a restructuring of power within the government," said Simon Reid-Henry of the Queen Mary, University of London.

Kornbluh called Castro's resignation "an amazing situation."

"Most leaders of his kind don't leave office except in a coffin or during a military coup," he said. "He is now going out on his own terms, securing a smooth transition to his brother and to a younger generation of leadership in Cuba."

While Raúl Castro, 76, is the presumed successor to his brother, the official decision will come Sunday when the country's 31-member council of ministers meets to nominate the next president.

The move is the culmination of national elections that began at the provincial level in December and moved to a higher level in the past few weeks.

Raúl is aging as well, Kornbluh said. "The generation that led the Cuban revolution 50 years ago is basically coming to an end," he said.

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Kornbluh predicts Sunday's elections also will put in place leaders in their 40s and 50s, possibly those such as Vice President Carlos Lage, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Fernando Ramirez, a senior Communist Party official and former ambassador to the United States.

"I think you'll see a younger leadership in the future, and a leadership that is, I think, ready to have better relations with the United States of America," Kornbluh said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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