Raul Castro named Cuban president

Raul Castro has been unanimously selected to succeed his brother Fidel as leader by Cuba’s National Assembly. Fidel Castro stepped down last week after nearly half a century in charge.

Raul has in effect been president since Fidel had major surgery in July 2006. It is understood that he was the only nominee in a vote seen as a formality.

But the real shock was when he chose 78-year-old Politburo hardliner Machado Ventura as vice-president, says the BBC’s Michael Voss in Havana.

There had been speculation that Raul Castro, aged 76, would name one of Cuba’s younger generation of communist leaders as his number two.

The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution is unique, Fidel is Fidel, as we all know well, he is irreplaceable
Raul Castro

But he instead opted for one of the original leaders of Cuba’s communist revolution.

What this means for the prospects for change remains unclear, our correspondent says.