- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2006

From combined dispatches

HAVANA — Pressure mounted yesterday on Raul Castro to demonstrate he was in control as Cuba’s interim leader, his absence from public view fueling fear of a power vacuum three days after he took over from his ailing brother, Fidel.

Instead of offering new information yesterday, Granma, the Communist Party newspaper, reprinted Raul’s July 1 address on legitimacy in Cuba’s leadership.

Meanwhile, Fidel, from his sickbed, set the stage for a more collective style of governance in a country long used to a strongman. He has selected six trusted comrades to run key projects while his brother acts as president and head of the Communist Party.

The division of powers gives the first solid indication of the direction the Cuban government is likely to take after Fidel’s death.

In a statement announcing his illness Monday night, Fidel said his brother and longtime defense minister, Raul, 75, was in charge of the government, the ruling party and the military during a recovery expected to take weeks.

Fidel distributed responsibility for running and funding his pet projects among six men, including Vice President Carlos Lage, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Central Bank President Francisco Soberon.

He also named the Communist Party as the guiding force for ensuring his instructions were followed.

“There is no doubt that our people and our Revolution will fight to the last drop of blood to defend these and other ideas and measures that are necessary to safeguard this historic process,” Fidel wrote.

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