Here's a look at the life of Raul Castro:
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 University of Havana
Timeline: 1953 - Attempts, along with his older brother Fidel, 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 and the United States.
January 1, 1959 - The Castros successfully overthrow the Batista government.
January 1959 - Three weeks after taking power, Fidel states that Raul is to be his successor, telling supporters: "Behind me are others more radical than I." It is not made legal until 1997.
October 1959 - After Fidel Castro becomes the first Communist leader in the Western Hemisphere, he appoints Raul to several prominent roles in his government including Defense Minister.
April 1961 - His troops defeat the CIA-led Bay of Pigs invasion.
1962 - Becomes Deputy Prime Minister.
July 1962 - In a visit to the Soviet Union, Raul is promised missiles. This development leads to the U.S.-Soviet Missile crisis.
1970's - Is deeply involved in the military conflicts in Angola and Ethiopia, as Defense Minister.
1972 - Appointed First Deputy Prime Minister (later called Vice President).
1991 - Is very involved with saving Cuba from extreme 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.