Sunday, February 24, 2008

raul castro named president by cuba's parliament

link via huffington post

HAVANA — Cuba's parliament named Raul Castro president on Sunday, ending nearly 50 years of rule by his brother Fidel but leaving the island's communist system unshaken.

Cuba's parliament chose a new 31-member ruling body known as the Council of State to lead the country. The council's president serves as the head of state and government.

The vote ended Castro's 49 years as head of the communist state in America's backyard. He retains his post as a lawmaker and as head of the Communist Party. But his power in government has eroded since July 31, 2006, when he announced he had undergone emergency intestinal surgery and was provisionally ceding his powers to Raul.

"Transition in Cuba?" asked [Hugo] Chavez, whose country is now a major economic ally of Cuba. "The transition occurred 49 years ago, from that capitalism, dominiated by imperialism, (under which Cuba) was a colony, to a socialist Cuba. The transition will continue marching forward, always with Fidel at the forefront."

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