FACTBOX: Facts about Cuba's new No.2, Machado Ventura

Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:32pm EST

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(Reuters) - Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, a hardline communist ideologue and old guard revolutionary, was named as Cuba's new deputy leader on Sunday following the retirement of Fidel Castro as president.

Here are some facts about the 77-year-old doctor, who becomes No. 2 to the new president, Raul Castro:

* Machado Ventura, born on October 26, 1930, is a prominent member of the ruling Communist Party's central committee and its political bureau.

* A balding party hardliner, he is seen by observers as Raul Castro's right-hand man.

* As a young doctor, he joined the Castro brothers as a guerrilla in the Sierra Maestra mountains during the insurgency against dictator Fulgencio Batista. He looked after the health of the rebel army, which took power in 1959.

* He has been responsible for supervising Cuba's international education programs since Fidel Castro fell ill and delegated powers in July 2006. His duties include integrating socialist ideas into education programs.

* Machado Ventura represented Cuba at the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega last year.

(Reporting by Havana bureau; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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