Photo: AP

Old communists never die; they just introduce incremental change while slating major political reform for the unspecified future.

In a rare speech the Miami Herald characterized as a “farewell,” former Cuban president Fidel Castro directly addressed his health and mortality on Tuesday, noting that, at 90 years old, he would soon be “like all the others.”

“The time will come for all of us,” Castro told Cuba’s Communist Party, according to The Guardian, “but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need”

At the same party congress, current Cuban president (and Castro’s younger brother) Raul Castro pledged to continue the country’s recent opening to foreign capital and private enterprise but “without hurry and with no improvisation.” From Reuters:

Arturo Lopez-Levy, who teaches Latin American politics at Texas University, likened [Raul] Castro’s moves to defensive driving as he seeks to maintain Cuba’s single-party political system.

“Castro expressed a desire to broaden the scope of the reforms and speed up their implementation, but he wants to preserve a cushion space for maneuver and reverse,” Lopez-Levy said.

“They are going to remain with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake,” Lopez-Levy told the New York Times.