Quote:HAVANA (AP) - Revolutionary icon Fidel Castro marked his 85th birthday behind closed doors Saturday, avoiding the spotlight as has become his wont in recent years although he still casts a long shadow over Cuban society. There were no announcements of how Castro planned to spend the day, though the previous night two dozen musical acts from across Latin America held a concert in his honor.
"What we say in the songs of our invited artists will be little next to what he deserves," Alfredo Vera, one of the organizers, said late Friday. "Congratulations, beloved and eternal comandante."
The former president didn't make it to his own birthday bash—hardly a surprise since he appears infrequently since he stepped down in 2006, at first temporarily, and then permanently in 2008, due an intestinal illness that he later said nearly killed him.
Nor did his younger brother and presidential successor, Raul Castro, attend. Instead, first Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, who also delivered the keynote address for Revolution Day on July 26, was the highest ranking among several government officials in the presidential seats at Karl Marx Theater.
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