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Cuba tributes, photo show, concert as Fidel Castro turns 88 behind closed doors

  • APTOPIX Cuba Fidel Castro-1.jpg

    A girl attends an exhibition of photographs of Fidel Castro by photographer Roberto Chile at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Castro will celebrate his 88th birthday on Wednesday. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

  • Cuba Fidel Castro-2.jpg

    People attend an exhibition of photographs of Cuba's former president Fidel Castro, made by photographer Roberto Chile at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Castro will celebrate his 88th birthday on Wednesday. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

  • Cuba Fidel Castro-3.jpg

    An image of Fidel Castro painted by children with motifs of the revolution and scribbled with happy birthday messages is seen during an exhibition of photographs of Fidel Castro by photographer Roberto Chile at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Castro will celebrate his 88th birthday on Wednesday. (AP Photo / Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

  • Cuba Fidel Castro-4.jpg

    A man takes a picture of a photograph of former Cuban President Fidel Castro during a photo exhibit of Castro by photographer Roberto Chile at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Castro celebrates his 88th birthday on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

Cuba is marking Fidel Castro's 88th birthday with tributes in official media, a concert and a photo exhibit in the capital and a newly inaugurated restoration of the home where he was born.

Castro is loathed by many exiles in Florida who say he ruled with an iron fist and stamped out civil liberties. He was celebrated on the island Wednesday as a fighter for equality and social justice who defied the U.S. for five decades.

An article in Communist Party newspaper Granma said "paying homage to Fidel is a great party."

Castro rarely appears in public these days, and in recent years has not taken part in official celebrations of his birthday.

He retired for good in 2008 following a near-fatal illness, ceding power to his younger brother Raul.