MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Raul Castro on his 90th birthday and said he was confident that both countries would continue fostering their constructive interaction, according to a congratulatory telegram posted on the Kremlin’s website on Thursday.
"The key events of Cuba’s recent history are inseparably linked to your name. Having devoted your whole life to defending the interests of your country and the struggle for social justice, you have rightly become an example of patriotism, courage, fortitude and statesmanship. It is hard to overestimate your personal contribution to establishing and developing friendly Russian-Cuban relations and elevating them to the strategic partnership level. I am confident that the constructive interaction between Moscow and Havana will continue to be strengthened for the benefit of our peoples," the congratulatory telegram reads.
The Russian leader noted that he "warmly recalls meetings" with Raul Castro, and their trustworthy and substantive negotiations. Putin also wished the former Cuban leader health, longevity, high spirits, happiness and prosperity.
Raul Castro was approved to occupy the post of first secretary of the Central Committee in place of Fidel Castro at the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba that took place on April 16-19, 2011. He stated at the time that he intended to adjust the country’s economic policy, in particular, to cancel the food rationing system, unify monetary circulation, expand the private sector and carry out other measures. He managed to implement some of his plans.
The process of normalizing relations with the United States that started in December 2014 was a major triumph in Cuba’s foreign policy. Havana and Washington restored diplomatic relations in July 2015.
On April 16, 2021, Raul Castro announced at the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba that he had decided to step down from the post of first secretary of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party.