Cuban Lawmakers Choose Raul Castro as New Leader

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Havana (AP) Nearly a half-century of rule by Fidel Castro has come to an end in Cuba -- but the Castro era has not ended.

Cuba's parliament today chose his brother Raul to replace him. The move leaves Cuba’s communist system unshaken.

It comes just five days after Fidel Castro said he was retiring.

Today's balloting gave the number-two spot in Cuba’s government to old-guard revolutionary leader Jose Ramón Machado. He fought alongside the Castro brothers in the late 1950s.

Today's transition isn't expected to bring any major policy changes. But some Cubans are hoping it will bring modest economic reforms, and some improvements in their daily lives.

Fidel Castro, meanwhile, retains his post as a lawmaker, and as head of Cuba’s communist party.