Fidel Castro has resigned as Cuba’s President and commander in chief, releasing a statement to his "dear compatriots".

A statement from the 81-year-old leader has been published on the website of the Communist Party’s Granma newspaper.

He said: "To my dear compatriots, who gave me the immense honour in recent days of electing me a member of parliament… I communicate to you that I will not aspire to or accept… the position of president of council of state and commander-in-chief."

Apart from a handful of home videos broadcast on television, Castro has not been seen in public since 2006 when he had emergency surgery on his intestines.

His brother Raul Castro has been working in his place and the National Assembly or legislature is expected to nominate him as the country’s official new president.

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