Without Castro, Cuba Celebrates Communist Revolutionary’s 85th Birthday

Posted August 13th, 2011 at 12:15 am (UTC-5)
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Cuba is celebrating the 85th birthday of former President Fidel Castro with a gala concert dubbed the “Serenade to Fidelity.”

Twenty-two musicians from across Latin America, including Grammy-winning Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, performed Friday night on the eve of Mr. Castro's birthday.

Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and other politicians were in attendance at the event, held at the 5,000-seat Karl Marx theater in Havana. However, the communist revolutionary himself was notably absent.

Mr. Castro has faced health problems in recent years. At his last public appearance in April, during a Communist Party Congress meeting, observers said he looked unsteady on his feet.

The former president ceded power to his brother, Raul Castro, five years ago, while suffering an intestinal ailment. The younger Castro officially became president in 2008.