International News

Raul Castro is 80 Today (Which is Considered Young Amongst Cuba's Decrepit Leadership)

We haven't updated the ol' "Fidel Castro Death Watch" in a while, but today marks Raul Castro's 80th birthday. Yes, the halls of power in Havana are starting more and more to resemble the halls of an old folks home, and it's a reminder it's only a matter of time until we have to institute a "Raul Castro Death Watch."

Big brother Fidel never made all that much of his birthday celebrations, and Raul isn't either. No public celebrations are planned. Which is smart when you consider calling attention to the fact the the country's leader is now an octogenarian might not be the best move.

Of course, Raul is supposed to be a bit more reform minded than his brother, but at 80, watchers on and off the island wonder how much Raul will really be able to accomplish.

"Imagine, all those old men," 52-year-old Havana resident Camila Salgado told the Associated Press. "I wonder where are the young people? And it worries me because I don't know if (Castro) will have time to make all the changes."

It doesn't help matters that Castro's right-hand men, First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Ramiro Valdes, are 80 and 79 respectively. Most others on the Cuban Council of State aren't that much younger, which leaves the question of who will fill these leadership roles once the Castros and their peers are in their graves.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.