Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Raul Castro Passes Presidency To New Leader

The Cuban government on Wednesday selected 57-year-old First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate to succeed Raul Raul Castro Passes Presidency To New Leader
Patty Aguilar | 19 April, 2018, 19:25

Ramiro Valdes, 85, was proposed as one of the vice presidents in a significant move, thereby keeping in the future government a historical leader who fought in the liberation war along with the Castro brothers.

Cuba is poised for the end of an era today as President Raul Castro steps down, formally handing power to his long-time deputy Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez - and thereby ending his family's decades-long grip on the island since the 1959 revolution.

The National Assembly swore in Mr Diaz-Canel, with 603 out of 604 officials present voting for the 57-year old, marking a generational shift from 86-year old Mr Castro.

State-run media and government-controlled Twitter accounts are promoting what is expected to be a historic handover of the presidency to the first non-Castro to lead the country in almost 60 years.

Fidel Castro, who led a band of rebels that overthrew a US -backed dictator and then ruled for decades, handed over power to Raul Castro in 2008 as his health deteriorated.

Most Cubans know their first vice-president as an uncharismatic figure who until recently maintained a public profile so low it was virtually nonexistent. In the early years after the revolution, four men served as president - some for just a matter of days - before the Cuban Constitution was rewritten in 1976 and Fidel Castro became president for the next three decades.

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Raul received a standing ovation as he entered the Palace of Convention where the National Assembly is meeting. He became higher education minister in 2009 before moving into the vice presidency.

In a video of a Communist Party meeting that inexplicably leaked to the public previous year, Mr Diaz-Canel expressed a series of orthodox positions that included sombrely pledging to shutter some independent media and labelling some European embassies as outposts of foreign subversion. State salaries average $30 a month, leaving workers struggling to feed their families, and often dependent on corruption or remittances from relatives overseas. "I'd like to have more opportunity, to buy a auto, and have a few possessions".

The Florida Republican said in a Wednesday statement that Cuba continues to be oppressed by a single-party system.

A two-day session of the Cuban legislature has started with some bureaucratic business as lawmakers prepare to elect the country's new president.

"It falls on our generation to give continuity to the revolutionary process", said assembly member Jorge Luis Torres, a municipal councilman from central Artemisa province who appeared to be in his 40s.

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