Following the National Assembly election on February 24 that made Raul Castro, 76, Cuban president, Fidel Castro, who had ruled the country for almost 50 years, hurried to quash claims that the shift in power had led to tension between the two brothers.
Fidel Castro, 81, announced on February 19 that he would step down as Cuba's president due to health problems. The leader of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, and the man who outlasted nine hostile U.S. presidents, still remains the head of the Communist Party.
Shortly after his election, Raul Castro vowed to continue the political course instigated by his older brother, and said: "Fidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work even when he is no longer physically with us."
The new president said he was willing to introduce moderate economic reforms in Cuba, but insisted that he would not deviate from the path of socialism. The reforms may include making the government more efficient, revaluing the currency and lifting some state restrictions on private business.