HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro turned 83 on Tuesday amid no celebrations and little mention in the official press, reported dpa news.
Raul Castro, who began his second five-year term in 2013, is seen little in public and is reluctant to give statements or make long speeches like his brother Fidel.
The state media released only two brief congratulations to Raul, one from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, two countries ideologically close to the Cuban leadership.
Since coming to power in 2006, the younger Castro has pushed a series of reforms to “update” the economic model of the island including the introduction of market elements.
His government has opened up opportunities for private initiative, with more than 440,000 people having taken out licenses according to official figures. However, the government has never stated how many of that number are still in business.
Cuba also recently passed a new foreign investment law to facilitate the arrival of capital from abroad into its economy, characterized mainly by decades of state monopoly.
Raul Castro took power in 2006 on an interim basis after the serious illness that put his brother Fidel on the brink of death. He was formally elected president by the Council of State in 2008. Last year, when beginning a second term, he said he will leave office in 2018.
Fidel Castro, 87, ruled the island for nearly half a century. In recent years he lives almost completely out of the public spotlight.