Raúl Castro pictures
Raúl Castro biography
Raúl Castro, younger brother of Fidel Castro, is the current President of Cuba. Before the retirement of his brother, in 2006, he was one of the most important leaders of the country and also active participant of the Cuban revolution.
After finishing his studies he joined the Young Socialists, that was an organization of the Cuban Communist Party. Together with his brother they took part in (sometimes violent) student movements.
In 1953 he took part in the attack against Moncada barrack and was sentenced to prison for 22 months. During his stay in Mexico helped the preparation of the first journey of Granma and training of M-26-7 corps. Together with his friend, Che Guevara he was one of the leaders of the rebellious troops. He led the guerrillas in North Oriente and allied the anti-Batista forces. He established a medical unit, civil work teams, air base and bomb factory.
In 1958 he set off the second line to Sierra Cristal Mountain. Raúl Castro set up his general headquarters in Mayarí Arriba. His actions against troops of Batista in the mountains were successful.
When Fidel Castro left to occupy Havana, Raúl Castro stayed in Oriente to control the government. Later he became commander in chief of the rebellious army.
Raúl Castro travelled many times to Prague and Moscow to ask weapons from the Soviets. The Soviet Union supported Cuba with modern weapons like tanks, MIG planes, rocket-ranges and other equipments.
His brother governed between 1959 and 2006, when due to Fidel’s indisposition Raúl Castro took over power temporarily, then in 2008 he retired. Younger Castro brother, Raúl Castro became president of Cuba on 24 February 2008.
During his presidency he did several economical reforms: in March, 2008 he lifted the ban on buying products forbidden by Fidel earlier (DVD player, PC, microwave oven). To give a boost to the food industry he ordered to give unused state-owned estates to farmers and many fields of decision making was divided from state level to the provinces. In the middle of 2008 government overhauled the salary system at every state-owned company and now those who work more and better can get better salary. Ban on cell phone usage was also lifted.
In spring, 2009 Raúl Castro dismissed some members of the government and he is constantly reforming the administration.
In his private life Raúl Castro was married since 1959 with Vilma Espín Guillois, daughter of a rum factory owner and president of the Alliance of Cuban Women. They have one son and three daughters. One of them, Mariela is now director of Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana and activist for LGBT (referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people) rights. Vilma Espín died in June 2007.