Castro marks 82nd birthday away from spotlight

HAVANA (AP) -- Fidel Castro is marking his 82nd birthday in private Wednesday.

There are no grand or official celebrations planned to honor the ailing ex-president of Cuba. Castro has not appeared in public since July 2006, after undergoing emergency surgery.

He ceded power to his younger brother Raul more than two years ago. He permanently resigned his presidency in February, ending nearly a half-century in power.

Some Cuban workers are marking today by sending Castro birthday greetings. A group of Santeria priests is also planning a drum ceremony in his honor.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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