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Raul Castro's "Historic" Decision, Looking Ahead To New Cuban Leaders



HAVANA – Cuban President Raúl Castro's reelection for a second term Sunday was no surprise. But Cuba is still absorbing the unexpected announcement that it would be Castro's final five-year mandate, and his naming of a much younger government minister to be his No. 2, and apparently anointed heir to power.

Monday's edition of the Communist party daily "Granma" declared the events "historic," pointing toward the end of the Castro brothers' uninterupted rule since the 1959 revolution.  

The front-page headline paraphrases Raul Castro's announcement: "The historical transcendance of a defining step in the configuration of the future direction of the country"


At the Eighth Legislative National Assembly in the “Palacio de las Convenciones” in Havana, the rubber-stamp appointment of the younger brother of longtime leader Fidel Castro to a second term, was followed by the appointment of Miguel Díaz-Canel as vice-president, which would put him first in line to succeed Castro in 2018, as reported by state press.

“We will try to limit to a maximum of two consecutive five-year periods for top state and government officials and establish age limits,” Castro, 81, announced.

Díaz-Canel, 52, is a trained electronic engineer, and former military man who has served as Education Minister. He is the highest-ranking Cuban official who did not participate directly in the Cuban Revolution of 1959.  

Díaz-Canel has also been a leader of the Communist Youth Union, and went on an international “mission” to Nicaragua during the first leftist Sandinista government. 

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