Cuban Communist Party leader Raul Castro has said he is resigning the role, ending his family's six decades in power.

Mr Castro confirmed he was handing over the leadership of the all-powerful Cuban Communist Party to a younger generation that was "full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit" at its annual congress.

In a speech opening the four-day closed door event, excerpts of which were broadcast on state television, Mr Castro, 89, said he had the satisfaction of handing over the leadership to a group of party loyalists that had decades of experience working their way up the ranks.

"I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live Iwill be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism," Mr Castro told hundreds of party delegates gathered at a convention centre in Havana.

The reins will pass from Mr Castro to Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has already served as Cuba's president since 2018, when Mr Castro relinquished that part of his executive portfolio.

In addition to the presidency, 60-year-old Diaz-Canel will now also hold the country's most powerful position - that of first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba PCC, a post previously only held by Mr Castro and his brother, revolutionary leader Fidel, who died in 2016.

Before Raul Castro, Fidel ruled Cuba for nearly half a century from 1959 to 2006, when he fell ill. Fidel is still widely revered as the country's father and saviour.

Mr Diaz-Canel becomes Cuba's first civilian leader since the Castro-led revolution of the 1950s, which happened before he was even born.