Emerging from Fidel's shadow
Raul Castro may lack his older brother's charm but he is sure to succeed him as Cuban president, writes Duncan Campbell
From The Guardian
The youngest of the five Castro siblings, Raul, 75, has been in his older brother's shadow for four decades. Educated at Jesuit college in Havana, he preceded his brother into the Communist youth movement during his student years and established early strong links with the Soviet Union.
Along with his brother Fidel, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, he was a leading rebel commander during the guerrilla war to remove Batista. According to Richard Gott's recent history of Cuba, Raul won his hawkish reputation by presiding over the execution of 70 of Batista's soldiers during the revolution.
Since then, Raul's role has been that of head of the armed forces and, with the title of first vice-president, potential successor. He does not have his older brother's charisma but has been increasingly promoted over recent months through the Cuban media. Some analysts think he will steer Cuba towards a Chinese-style economy and be more prepared to compromise. Originally married to Vilma Espin, a leading revolutionary who later became the head of the Federation of Cuban Women, he is the father of Mariela, the director of the National Institute of Sex Education who has recently been campaigning for greater rights for transvestites on the island.
Tuesday August 1, 2006