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Cuba's Raul Castro: key dates

© AFP/File | Then Cuban president Fidel Castro, left, and his brother Raul, serving as defense minister at the time, attending parliament in 1995 seated behind a rifle used when they seized power in 1959

HAVANA (CUBA) (AFP) - 

Here are key dates in the life of Cuba's outgoing President Raul Castro, the brother and successor of the late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

- June 3, 1931: Born in Biran, a village in eastern Cuba.

- 1953: Raul is sentenced to 13 years in prison for attacking a military barracks with a group of revolutionaries led by his brother Fidel. He is released two years later as part of an amnesty.

- 1956: Takes part in an expedition led by his brother that leaves from Mexico to wage revolution in Cuba, becoming a military commander the following year.

- 1959: After his brother unseats dictator Fulgencio Batista, Raul is appointed Cuban defense minister, holding the post until 2008.

- 1961: Leads operations against the attempted invasion by US-backed anti-Castro forces in the Bay of Pigs.

- 1976: Officially becomes number two in the government, as first vice-president of the Council of State.

- 1989: Plays the role of "prosecutor" in the trial of General Arnaldo Ochoa, a hero of the Angola war executed after drug trafficking accusations.

- 2006: He is handed power by his sick brother Fidel, taking over officially as president in 2008.

- 2010: Gives the green light for the release of dissident political prisoners, hailed as a breakthrough.

- 2011: Succeeds Fidel as head of the all-powerful Cuban Communist Party.

- 2013: Re-elected for a last presidential term.

- 2014: Announces a historic rapprochement with Washington, 52 years after the US embargo on the island. The two countries re-establish diplomatic ties the following year.

© 2018 AFP