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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 16:29 GMT
Castro 'relishes chance to rest'
Fidel Castro (13 August 2006)
Mr Castro has not named a favourite to succeed him
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is relieved to be leaving office and has promised himself a holiday, according to an article attributed to him.

"The night before, I slept better than ever," he writes in Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma, three days after announcing his retirement.

"My conscience was clear and I promised myself a vacation," he adds.

Mr Castro, 81, is not seeking a new term when parliament meets on Sunday to select a new president.

He has not been seen in public since handing over power temporarily to his brother Raul in July 2006 while he underwent intestinal surgery.

Change, change, change! ... Cuba changed some time ago
Fidel Castro
retiring Cuban leader

However, photos showing him convalescing have been released occasionally.

When he announced he was stepping down, he added that he would continue writing his columns in Granma, "fighting like a soldier of ideas".

Friday's article was dominated by a fierce attack on the US, which has imposed a trade embargo on Cuba for nearly five decades.

Mr Castro mocked calls in the US for reform:

"Change, change, change! Well I agree, but in the United States... Cuba changed some time ago, and will continue on its dialectical path."

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