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Raul Castro. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/Pool/Getty Images

Raul Castro announced on Friday he is resigning as the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Cuba, AP reports.

Why it matters: The move, though widely expected, marks the beginning of a new era for the party. It will be the first time since the 1959 revolution that a Castro won't hold one of the most powerful positions on the island.

  • "Castro didn’t say who he would endorse as his successor as first secretary-general of the Communist Party, but he previously has indicated that he favors yielding control to Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded him as president in 2018," AP noted.
  • He made the announcement at Cuba's Eighth Party Congress.

What he's saying: "I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism," Castro said in an excerpt of his speech broadcast on state TV, per Reuters.

  • "I will continue to serve as any other revolutionary fighter, willing to contribute as much as I can until the end of my life,” Castro added.

The big picture: Castro's retirement comes after Cuba's economy shrank 11% in 2020 largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Cuba has also been dealing with U.S. sanctions and a decline in aid from Venezuela, one of the country's most faithful allies.

Go deeper

Updated Apr 15, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on immigration policy

On Thursday, April 15 Axios justice & race reporter Russell Contreras hosted a conversation on immigration policy, featuring Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and president of The LIBRE Initiative Daniel Garza.

Rep. Castro discussed the crisis at the border, the legacy of immigration in America, and his concerns about Title 42 being used as a means to expel refugees rightfully seeking asylum.

  • On congressional delegations making trips to the U.S.-Mexico border: "[These visits] have affirmed that our system for how we handle asylum-seekers...is broken. Our immigration system is broken."
  • On immigrants being used as scapegoats by politicians: "There's a history in our country, an ugly history of people using groups of people to scare others for political gain."

Daniel Garza discussed the goals of the LIBRE Initiative, a libertarian approach to immigration, and the need for a bipartisan approach to immigration.

  • On the long history and vital importance of immigration to the U.S.: "Throughout the arc of history, America has been strengthened because of immigrants that have come to America and we need to honor that legacy."
  • On Democratic and Republican consensus on immigration issues: "One party doesn't get to define what immigration reform is. They both have to come together and reach a consensus. And America is made stronger when the voices on both sides can come together and strike a balance between security and entry."

Axios Vice President of Growth Mia Vallo hosted a View from the Top Segment with Head of U.S. Local Media Relations at Bank of America Carla Molina, who discussed the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the Latino community. She unpacked Bank of America's multi-pronged approach to addressing systemic inequities focusing on health, small businesses, homeownership, and education.

  • "It's important to note that this commitment is really grounded in a long history ...Given everything that we saw [with the pandemic], it was important for us to really double down our efforts."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Rep. Castro: Asylum seekers deserve their day in court

Photo: Axios

The U.S. should do away with Title 42, a Trump-era policy for quickly expelling people at the border, and instead allow migrants to petition for ayslum as quickly as possible, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said during an Axios virtual event on Thursday.

Why it matters: The policy, Castro said, denies many people seeking asylum the right to due process, and instead the Biden administration should focus on improving its capacity to process migrants flows and reunite people with their families or sponsors in the U.S.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.