Raul Castro Fast Facts

HAVANA, CUBA - Former president Raul Castro addresses the National Assembly after Diaz-Canel was elected as the nation's new president at Convention Palace on April 19, 2018, in Havana, Cuba Diaz-Canel will be the first non-Castro Cuban president since 1976. Raul Castro steps down after 12 years in power. (AP Ramon Espinosa/Pool/Getty Images )

(CNN)Here's a look at the life of Raúl Castro, former President of Cuba.


Birth date: June 3, 1931
Birth place: Birán, Cuba
    Birth name: Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz
    Father: Ángel Castro, a wealthy Spanish landowner
    Mother: Lina Ruz, a cook and maid to Angel Castro's first wife
    Marriage: Vilma Espin (1959-2007, her death)
    Children: Mariela, Nilsa, Deborah and Alejandro
    Education: Attended the University of Havana


    1953 - Attempts, along with his older brother Fidel Castro, to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, after which both are sentenced to 15 years in prison. They are released less than two years later as part of an amnesty for political prisoners. Both go into exile in Mexico.
    January 1, 1959 - The Castros successfully overthrow the Batista government.
    January 1959 - Three weeks after taking power, Fidel Castro states that his brother is to be his successor, telling supporters, "Behind me are others more radical than I."
    October 1959 - Fidel appoints Raul to several prominent roles in his government including defense minister.
    April 1961 - Castro's troops defeat the CIA-led Bay of Pigs invasion.
    1962 - Becomes deputy prime minister.
    July 1962 - Visits the Soviet Union and signs a draft treaty agreeing to allow Soviet nuclear missiles to be installed in Cuba. This development leads to the US-Cuban Missile crisis.
    1970s - Is involved in the military conflicts in Angola and Ethiopia.
    1972 - Appointed first deputy prime minister (later called vice president).
    1991 - Helps Cuba navigate a severe financial crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union.
    October 1997 - Cuba's Communist Party officially designates Raul as Fidel's successor should he die or be unable to perform his duties.
    2001 - In an interview with Cuban state television, Castro says he'd like to see Cuba improve its relationship with the United States: "I am among