Miguel Diaz-Canel replaces Raul Castro as president of Cuba

20 Abril, 2018, 02:21 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Visitors laugh as they attend a cinema theatre at an invitation-only screening at the King Abdullah Financial District Theater in Riyadh Saudi Arabia Wednesday

The Cuban government has nominated First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate for president, guaranteeing that the 57-year-old engineer will succeed Gen. Raul Castro, 86.

The results are expected to be announced on Thursday, and the new president will be sworn in.

His nomination as the head of the 31-member Council of State was officially confirmed on Thursday. Deputies were only able to vote yes or no on the slate.

Analysts say it will be tricky for Diaz-Canel to get the party and government to deepen the reform process, given his predecessor struggled to do so despite his clout as one of the revolutionary leaders.

Castro allowed Cubans to travel more freely and to own cellphones and property, while expanding internet access, albeit continuing to limit public dissent. Xi sent a separated message to the general secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raul Castro Ruz, in which he also committed to keeping close communication with him to take bilateral ties to a higher level.

Although this week's assembly is promoting younger government leaders, Castro and other elders of the revolution will retain considerable power in their roles as the top leaders of the Communist Party at least until a party congress set for 2021.

And though he has publicly espoused party orthodoxy, Diaz-Canel has not been a cookie-cutter bureaucrat, exactly.

In a speech to assembly members, he pledged he would ensure "the continuity of the Cuban revolution at a key historic moment".

Under the provisions of Cuba's Constitution, the President of the Council of State, who is elected for a five-year term of office, performs the functions of President and Prime Minister of the country.

He had a reputation as being pragmatic and accessible when he was a party chief in both Villa Clara and Holguin provinces, and is viewed as someone who embraces new technology.

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His election to the post was announced on Thursday at a session of the National Assembly of People's Power, the Cuban one-chamber parliament.

Castro praised Diaz-Canel's leadership as a Communist Party official dating back to the "special period" of the 1990s when Cuba faced a deep economic crisis following the loss of subsidies because of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"The significance of this event can not be overstated".

"I take that as a signal that the Cuban leadership still sees value in improving relations, even if they have to wait for the next U.S. president", said William LeoGrande, co-author of a book on the secret U.S. -Cuba talks that led to detente.

"The transition is nothing and it is everything".

She said "It's the whole system that is corrupt". He is seen as less reform-minded than the new president.

One of the fiercest congressional critics of Cuba's government says the island's new president is a "thug" who is just the "same as the old boss".

Juan Esteban Lazo Hernandez was re-elected president of the National Assembly. He said there would be no compromise in Cuba's foreign policy but in a repetition of a long-held stance by Havana, he said he would hold dialogue with anybody who treated Cuba as an equal.

That's probably his greatest legacy, said LeoGrande.



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