Raul Castro presides over last May Day parade, will step down next year

World Today

Cuba marked International Labor Day with its annual parade through Revolution Square. This was the first May Day parade since the death of Cuba’s former revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. It will also be the last that his brother Raul Castro will preside over as president.

CGTN’s Michael Voss reports.

Raul Castro presides over last May Day parade, will step down next year

Come February 2018, Raul Castro will step down from the presidency and allow the newly-elected National Assembly to choose a new leader.

Raul Castro has announced that he will step down in February 2018, when the newly-elected National Assembly meets to announce the country’s leadership, however he is expected to stay on as head of the Communist Party.

This was also the first time a protester tried to disrupt the parade by running in front of it holding a U.S. flag. He was quickly carried away.

This year’s parade is officially dedicated to Cuba’s youth and the country’s future.

But in this period of transition no one is quite sure what the future holds.

Cuba’s economy went into recession last year, hit by the crisis in Venezuela, which reduced its supplies of subsidized oil.

And with a new U.S. President in the White House, no one knows if Donald Trump intends to place new restrictions on Cuba.

So what are the hopes of young here for the future?

“I want Cuba to keep being free, like all our heroes and martyrs who fought for a free and sovereign Cuba. I want a country where we are not colonized by anyone,” one young woman said.

Meeting the hopes and expectations of the young could fall 57-year-old first vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is the front- runner to take over as President.