Facts about Raul Castro

Raul Castro is 87 years old
Born: June 3, 1931
Birthplace: Biran, Cuba
Best known as: The president of Cuba, 2008-18

     
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Raul Castro Biography

Raul Castro ruled Cuba as its all-powerful president for 10 years, from 2008 until stepping down in 2018. He had replaced his brother, longtime dictator Fidel Castro, as president of Cuba in 2008.

Raul Castro helped his brother plan and execute the socialist revolution which overthrew the dictator Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s. (Raul also introduced Fidel to Che Guevara, who also was to become a famous revolutionary.)

Fidel Castro took power in 1959 and Raul spent the next five decades as his defense minister, chief lieutenant, and designated successor.  Fidel dominated Caribbean politics with his charisma and vision of Cuba as a socialist paradise, while Raul was widely seen as a stolid and loyal pragmatist who ran the Army and quashed dissent.

Raul became the acting head of the Cuban government in August of 2006 after Fidel underwent surgery for an undisclosed ailment. In February of 2008, Fidel announced that he would step down from power, and Raul Castro was named to replace him as president one week later.

Raul Castro was reelected in February of 2013, at which point he made the surprising announcement that he would step down in 2018, at the end of that five-year term. In 2016, he met with U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to Cuba by Obama, in a symbol of a thaw in the relations between the two countries.

Fidel Castro died in 2016, and on April 19, 2018, Raul Castro did indeed step down. He was replaced as president by his hand-picked successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Extra credit

Raul Castro married fellow revolutionary Vilma Espin in 1959. They have four children.


     

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