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Cuba Observes Day of Mourning for Raul Castro's Wife


Cuba is observing a day of mourning Tuesday, flying its flags at half-staff for Vilma Espin Guillois, the wife of acting Cuban President Raul Castro.

Espin died Monday at the age of 77, after a long illness.

Espin was among Cuba's most politically powerful women. She was known for some 45 years as Cuba's unofficial first lady because Fidel Castro kept his own private life out of the public limelight. Espin led the Federation of Cuban Women, a women's political group supporting the communist government.

Espin was a rebel in the 1950's against dictator Fulgencio Batista. She and Raul Castro were married in 1959 after the fall of Batista's government. The couple had four children.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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