Cuba has a totalitarian communist state government. It is headed by President Raul Castro. Raul succeeded his brother, Fidel Castro, as president in 2008. Castro is the president, chief of state and commander of the armed forces of Cuba.
In April 2011, the first Communist Party Congress since 1997 was held, naming Raul Castro as first secretary of the Communist Party. After this announcement, Castro went on to name Jose Ramon Machado Ventura as the remaining second in command and to rename Vice President Ramiro Valdes as the party's third-highest ranking official. The Communist Party controls many aspects of Cuban life through its affiliation with different organizations, bureaucracy and the government's secret service organization.