Dedicated to the 100 million victims of communism worldwide.
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National Exhibit
National Exhibit
Raul Castro Ruz

Raul Castro Ruz, born 1931, has lived long in the shadow of brother Fidel. Raul joined Fidel in the attack on the Moncada barracks and spent nearly two years in prison. He commanded a guerrilla column in the campaign against Batista. Raul’s conversion to Marxist-Leninist ideology appears to have preceded that of Fidel and for decades Raul was considered a hard-line communist.

Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Raul became Minister of Defense, a position he held until 2008. As a solider, Raul worked closely with the Soviets to develop Cuba’s military power. Under his command as many as 50,000 Cuban soldiers at a time fought in liberation wars in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. The execution of the popular Cuban General Arnoldo Ochoa in 1989, allegedly for drug trafficking, was widely interpreted as Raul’s way of eliminating a feared rival.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Raul and the Cuban Armed Forces played a critical role in managing Cuba’s “new economy” of tourism and foreign investment. In 1997, Fidel designated Raul as his successor. Raul was never the charismatic equal of his brother, preferring to remain out of the limelight and off the podium.
In February 2008, after almost two years of provisional leadership, Raul became the official head of the Cuban state. Under Raul modest reforms have occurred and some restrictions lifted on such things as ownership of cell phones and computers. Cuba has engaged in modest efforts to foster private agricultural production and self-employment. Cubans look to Raul and a Cuban Communist Party Congress later in 2009 to establish new ideological directions for the island’s currently bleak future.

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Cuba
Location:  Caribbean
Capital:  Havana
Communist Rule:  January 1959-Current
Status:  
Victims of Communism:
73 000