Raul Castro turns 82, with heir-apparent on deck

Castro has been in power since 2006, when a life-threatening intestinal disease forced his brother Fidel to step aside.

Since then Raul Castro has embarked on a programme of social and economic reforms, while vowing that Cuba will remain socialist.

Earlier this year he named as his new vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel, who at 53 is relatively young compared to the octogenarians who occupy many top positions.

Castro said at the time that his current term as president, which ends in 2018, will be his last.

State-run newspapers did not mention Castro’s birthday Monday, and no public celebrations were announced.

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