46 years on, the party's over for Cuba's 'guiding light' Fidel Castro

Raul Castro was named first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party yesterday, as his ageing brother, Fidel, was formally removed from the party leadership for the first time since its creation 46 years ago.

Cubans grab licence to make money

MARISELA Álvarez spends much of the day bent over a single electric burner in her small outdoor kitchen. Her knees are killing her. Her red hair smells of cooking oil. But she hasn't felt this fortunate in years.

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I had to stand down because of ill health, says Fidel Castro

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, pictured left, has said his frail health forced him to delegate his powers as head of Cuba's Communist Party, suggesting that he may have resigned his last leadership post.

68 die as Cuban airliner crashes

A CUBAN airliner crashed and burst into flames in a mountainous area yesterday after declaring an emergency and losing contact with air traffic controllers, the island's worst air disaster in more than 20 years.

Cuba unveils new tax system - and a beginner's guide to the concept

Cuba has laid out details of a sweeping tax system for the newly self-employed - a crucial step in the socialist state's plan to convert hundreds of thousands of state workers into private business owners.

No food for thought: Dissident wins prize for hunger strikes

Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas has been awarded the European Parliament's annual prize for human rights.

Workshy the first in line to lose jobs as Cuba feels economic strain

LAZY Cuban workers face the axe first, according to government plans to slash the Communist state's public payroll by 500,000 within six months.

Cuba to offload half a million state staff

Cuba will fire more than 500,000 state employees by next March and try to move most to non-state jobs in the biggest shift to the private sector since the 1960s, the official Cuban labour federation has said.

Historic gesture as first batch of political prisoners freed by Cuba

EVEN former political prisoners from Cuba smiled and gave victory signs yesterday after they and their families were flown to freedom in Madrid, the first of 52 dissidents the Cuban government has promised to free in a historic policy shift.

Stronger-looking Castro braves public eye

NEW pictures of Fidel Castro show the stooped but smiling former leader venturing out to meet with workers at a Cuban scientific think tank - the first to show him in public since he became seriously ill four years ago.

Cuba frees political prisoners

CUBA has promised the Roman Catholic Church it will free 52 political prisoners.

Cuba offered a 'new beginning'

PRESIDENT Barack Obama extended a hand to America's hemispheric neighbours yesterday – including its harshest critics – and offered a Cold War foe the hope of a "new beginning".

Drive to lift 47-year bar on Cuba's membership of the OAS

THE head of the Organisation of American States has said that he will ask members to readmit Cuba 47 years after they voted out the communist nation.

In pictures: Fidel Castro's 50 years as leader of Cuba

ON 16 February 1959 Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista.

Castro hits out at European Union

FIDEL CASTRO has slammed an EU decision that lifted diplomatic sanctions on Cuba but imposed tough conditions on Havana to maintain sanction-free relations with the union.

US phone move rings in changes for exiled Cubans

SINCE succeeding his ailing 81-year-old brother, Fidel, in February, Cuba's Raúl Castro, 76, has made a series of changes, opening access to mobile phones, computers and DVD players.

Cuba lifts ban on sale of computers to public

CUBA is going all PC. The island's communist government has put desktop computers on sale to the public for the first time, ending a ban on PC sales as another despised restriction on daily life fell away under new President Raul Castro.

Cubans queue for mobile phones as sales ban is lifted

LONG queues stretched outside shops in Cuba this week as the new government allowed citizens to sign up for mobile phone services for the first time.

Cubans get permission to holiday in their own hotels

RAUL CASTRO'S government has opened luxury hotels and resorts to all Cubans, ending a ban despised across the island as "tourist apartheid" and taking another step toward the creation of a consumer economy in the communist state.

Castro rings changes as Cubans get mobile phones

CUBANS will be allowed to buy mobile phones for the first time in the latest step by Raul Castro, the new president, to improve access to consumer goods.

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