Raúl Castro, present president of Cuba and younger brother of the former president Fidel Castro was elected president on February 24, 2008.
He fought with Fidel in the Sierra Maestra against the dictator Batista.
Raul kept a low profile during the presidency of the charismatic Fidel, but he was known as a Communist Party hardliner and an excellent organizer of the Government.
He established the entire tourism industry to fund the FAR the Cuban Revolutionary Army, from whom he was the Commander in Chief.
Cuba experts believe that the younger Castro is in favour of an economy based on the 'Chinese Model' and gradually
will allow small private businesses.
At present the changes are small and slow because he is afraid for a "system collapse" like the one seen in the former Soviet Union during the Mikhail Gorbachov presidency.
Some important Cuban hardliners considered as "Fidelistas" or Fidel followers like Felipe Perez Roque and Carlos Lage Davilia have been dismissed.
The election of the new US president Barack Obama may open new perspectives for better relations with the USA.