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Spotlight : RaE[bar]l Castro.

By Combined news reports Born in June 3, 1931, is the second-ranking member of the Cuban Council of State. The younger brother of Cuba President Fidel Castro, he has been appointed to the positions of First Vice President of the Council of State, Vice President to the Council of Ministers, Vice Secretary of the Politburo and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and Maximum General of the Armed Forces, second only to the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro. On July 31, 2006, RaaAEl Castro assumed the duties of President of the Council of State in a temporary transfer of power due to Fidel Castro's illness. According to the Cuban Constitution Article 94, the first vice president of the Council of State assumes presidential duties upon the illness or death of the president.RaaAEl is the youngest of the three Castro brothers. They also have three sisters, Angela, Juanita and Emma. As youngsters, the brothers were expelled from the first school they attended. Like Fidel, RaaAEl later attended the Jesuit School of Colegio Dolores in Santiago and Colegio de BelE[umlaut]n in Havana. As an undergraduate, RaaAEl studied social sciences, and was a committed socialist and joined the Socialist Youth, an affiliate of the Soviet-oriented Cuban Communist Party, the Partido Socialista Popular (PSP). In 1953, RaaAEl was a member of the July 26 Movement which attacked the Moncada Barracks and spent 22 months in prison as a result of this action. During his exile in Mexico, he participated in the preparations of the expedition of the ship Granma, embarking for Cuba on December 2, 1956.It was during the period in Mexico that RaaAEl reportedly befriended Ernesto 'ChE[umlaut]' Guevara in Mexico City and brought him into Fidel's circle of revolutionaries. RaaAEl also established contact with Soviet KGB agent Nikolai Leonov, whom he had met two years earlier during a trip to the Soviet-bloc nations. That relationship would persist until the Castro brothers successfully assumed power in Cuba. As a combatant of the Rebel Army he took part in the campaign of the Sierra Maestra mountain range and, on February 27, 1958, was made commandant and assigned the mission to cross the old province of Oriente leading a column of guerrillas to open, to the northeast of that territory, the "Eastern front Frank Paaes". RaaAEl is credited with persuading his older brother to implement agricultural market reforms in the early 1990s which increased the food supply, after the Soviet Union fell and its generous subsidies to Cuba stopped.He has been married for more than 45 years to Vilma Espin Guillois, a veteran of the revolution and president of the Cuban Federation of Women. They have three daughters and one son. His eldest daughter Mariela Castro currently heads the Cuban National Center for Sex Education.RaaAEl Castro is thought to be more pragmatic than his older brother, and would also be more willing to institute free market-oriented economic policies. However, he is also considered to be a political hardliner who will maintain the Communist Party of Cuba's political power. It is speculated that he favors some version of the current Chinese political and economic model for Cuba. nSpotlight : RaaAEl Castro

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Aug 15, 2006
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