13 Sep 2009

Death of Cuban vice president

5:47 am on 13 September 2009

One of Cuba's vice presidents, Juan Almeida, has died of heart failure at the age of 82.

He was in the group of guerrillas led by Fidel Castro which eventually seized power in Cuba in 1959.

The BBC reports he was promoted to the rank of commander during a campaign in the Sierra Maestra mountains and served in senior positions from the beginning of the revolutionary government.

Until his death he was one of several vice presidents in the Council of State under current president, Raul Castro. He was the only black commander in the Cuban leadership

Sunday has been declared a national day of mourning, and flags will be flown at half-mast.