— Cuban President Raúl Castro says that he’s willing to step aside in order to allow the election of a new president in the country’s fourth straight presidential election, but will not quit.
The statement, released Saturday, comes two weeks after the death of the last surviving leader of the communist-backed communist regime, Fidel Castro, at age 95.
The United States has said it is looking into the election as well.
“The Cuban people have spoken and they will not accept anything that would harm the revolution or its achievements,” Castro said in the statement, adding that the U.S. is ready to help Cuba achieve the political and economic goals set out in the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
The Cuban government has been in a state of political crisis since the death last month of Raúlfo Castro, a charismatic figure and the brother of Cuba’s current leader, Raúlo Castro, who died in 2011 at the age of 89.
Ramon Castro’s death sparked months of violent demonstrations in Cuba that left at least 16 people dead and more than 200,000 displaced.
On Saturday, the government blamed the unrest on political enemies and called for a dialogue between the two sides.
In a televised address Saturday, Castro also blamed the U-S.
for “spreading hatred and terror” and said he would be ready to accept the outcome of the election, adding: “I will take the necessary steps in the face of the crisis, and I will give my personal support to the president.”
Rojas Castro, Cuba’s foreign minister, issued a similar statement Saturday.
“I strongly condemn the attacks on the president and his family, who were killed for the sake of achieving national unity,” he said.
“It is a crime against the Cuban people that we cannot accept.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.