Newly appointed dictatator raul castro as appointed as his No. 2, a old guard communist hardliner named Jose Ramon Machado Ventura. Read about him here.
Further calling into question the notion that raul is some sort of reformer was his proposal to keep big brother in the game as a sort of supreme leader. The Miami Herald described it like this:
(r)aúl (c)astro’s first move as president was to introduce a measure allowing his brother to rule on all major decisions in the future. The National Assembly unanimously agreed.
In his inaugural speech, (r)aúl (c)astro paid homage to his brother’s rule, saying he could never be replaced — ”fidel is fidel,” he said — and repeated his previous argument that the Communist Party remains Cuba’s leading force.
“He can never be replaced.”