Raul Castro Spends 85th Birthday Preparing for Summit

Cuban President Raul Castro spent his 85th birthday preparing to host leaders of Caribbean countries who are meeting in Havana, although he did take a congratulatory phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Castro generally doesn't make much of his birthdays and made no comment on his latest milestone Friday. He was looking ahead to a nighttime banquet that welcomes heads of state and government leaders attending the Caribbean summit.

The Russian state news agency Sputnik said Castro did take time to talk with Putin. According to a Kremlin statement, "Putin telephoned President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Raul Castro, and congratulated him warmly on his 85th birthday."

Castro assumed Cuba's presidency nearly 10 years ago, taking over from his ailing brother Fidel.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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