The following are excerpts from an English version of the letter, as published by the Associated Press:
... For many years I occupied the honorable position of president.... I always had the necessary prerogatives to carry forward the revolutionary work with the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.
There were those overseas who, aware of my critical health condition, thought that my provisional resignation, on July 31, 2006, from the position of President of the State Council, which I left to First Vice President Raul Castro Ruz, was permanent.... It was an uncomfortable situation for me vis-á-vis an adversary which had done everything possible to get rid of me, and I felt reluctant to comply...
My first duty was to prepare our people both politically and psychologically for my absence after so many years of struggle. I kept saying that my recovery "was not without risks."
My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath. That's what I can offer.
To my dearest compatriots, who have recently honored me so much by electing me a member of the Parliament where so many agreements should be adopted of utmost importance to the destiny of our Revolution, I am saying that I will neither aspire to nor accept – I repeat, I will neither aspire to nor accept – the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief.
In short letters addressed to Randy Alonso, director of the Round Table program on National Television – letters which at my request were made public – I discreetly introduced elements of this message I am writing today.... Here are selected paragraphs from the letter sent to Randy on Dec. 17, 2007:
"I strongly believe that the answers to the current problems facing Cuban society, which has on average a 12th-grade education, almost 1 million university graduates, and real opportunities for its citizens to study without facing discrimination, require more variables for each concrete problem than those contained in a chess game. We cannot ignore a single detail; this is not an easy path to take, if the intelligence of a human being in a revolutionary society is to prevail over instinct.
"My elemental duty is not to cling to positions, much less to stand in the way of younger persons, but rather to contribute experience and ideas whose modest value comes from the exceptional era in which I lived.
Letter from Jan. 8, 2008:
"I am a firm supporter of a unified vote (a principle that preserves ignored merits), which allowed us to avoid the tendency to copy what came to us from countries of the former socialist bloc, including the portrait of the one candidate, as singular as his solidarity toward Cuba. I deeply respect that first attempt at building socialism, thanks to which we were able to continue along the path we had chosen."
I reiterated in that letter that "... I never forget that all the world's glory fits in a kernel of corn."
Therefore, it would be a betrayal of my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer. This I say devoid of all drama.
Fortunately, our process can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early days of the Revolution. Some were very young, almost children, when they joined the fight on the mountains and later they filled the country with glory with their heroism and their internationalist missions. They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement. There is also the intermediate generation which learned with us the basics of the complex and almost unattainable art of organizing and leading a revolution.
The path will always be difficult and require everyone's intelligent effort. I distrust the seemingly easy path of apologetics or its antithesis of self-flagellation. We should always be prepared for the worst possibilities. We cannot forget the principle of being as prudent in success as steady in adversity. The adversary to be defeated is extremely strong, but we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.
This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the title, "Reflections of Comrade Fidel." It will be another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful.