Raul Castro Fast Facts

Cuban acting President Raul Castro participates in a military parade on December 2, 2006 at the Revolution Square to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Army and the 80th birthday of his brother, Cuban President Fidel Castro.

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

Personal:
Birth date:
June 3, 1931
Birth place: Biran, Cuba
Birth name: Raul Modesto Castro Ruz
    Father: Angel 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, Alejandro
    Education: Attended the University of Havana
    Timeline:
    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 Castro appoints Raul to several prominent roles in his government including defense minister.
    April 1961 - Raul Castro's troops defeat the CIA-led Bay of Pigs invasion.
    1962 - Becomes deputy prime minister.
    July 1962 - In a visit to the Soviet Union, Raul Castro is promised missiles. 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 Castro as Fidel Castro's successor should he die or be unable to perform his duties.
    2001 - In an interview with Cuban state television, Raul Castro says he'd like to see Cuba improve its relationship with the United States: "I am among those who believe that it would be in imperialism's interest to try, with our irreconcilable differences, to normalize relations as much as possible during Fidel's life."
    July 31, 2006 - Fidel Castro temporarily hands over power to Raul while undergoing intestinal surgery.
    February 19, 2008 - Fidel Castro, in a letter, resigns from office. This paves the way for the National Assembly to select Raul as Cuba's new leader.
    April 28, 2008 - Announces that many death row prisoners will have their sentences commuted as part of a reform agenda.
    December 2008 - Makes first international trip as president, visiting Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez.
    March 2, 2009 - Reorganizes his Cabinet, replacing long-time aides to Fidel Castro.
    April 6, 2009 - Meets with visiting members of the US Congressional Black Caucus.
    February 24, 2013 - After being reelected by the National Assembly, Castro announces he will step down in 2018, at the end of his second five-year term.
    December 17, 2014 - Cuba and the United States announce plans to renew diplomatic relations after a half-century of tension.
    May 10, 2015 - Meets Pope Francis for the first time. They talk for 50 minutes at the Vatican. Castro thanks the Pope for facilitating talks between Cuba and the United States. He later says he may rejoin the Catholic Church.
    March 20-22, 2016 - During a historic trip to Cuba, Obama visits Raul Castro to discuss human rights and ending the economic embargo. Obama is the first sitting president to visit Cuba since 1928, when Calvin Coolidge traveled to the island via boat.
    December 21, 2017 - Cuban officials announce that Castro will not retire as planned when his presidential term ends on February 24, 2018. Due to ongoing issues related to recovery from Hurricane Irma, the naming of Castro's successor will be delayed until April 19, 2018, according to Cuban state-run media.
    April 19, 2018 - Castro steps down as president of Cuba. After handing over the presidency to Miguel Díaz-Canel, Castro gives a speech at the Cuban National Assembly and says that presidential terms in Cuba should be limited to two 5-year terms.