And to mark the occasion, The Daily Telegraph in London has published a feature by reporter Fiona Govan looking at how Castro II has gone about making life “more comfortable” for ordinary Cubans.
The reporter highlights some of the recent economic "reforms" introduced by the regime, such as giving Cubans the right to window-shop for outrageously over-priced mobile phone, personal computers and DVD players, although they will need to wait a couple more years before they can window-shop for a new toaster.
To be sure, Ms Govan does point out that political freedoms remain well, non-existent, on the island, highlighting the recent intimidation and harassment of dissidents, including the Ladies in White.
Still, her assessment is quite optimistic.
“Raul's practical gestures have created a significant amount of goodwill and brought him breathing space as he attempts to grapple with a struggling economy damaged by a decades-long US trade embargo and the inefficiencies of a highly centralised state-run system,” she concludes.
Photo: Adalberto Roque, AFP