Miguel Diaz-Canel succeeds Raul Castro as Cuba’s new president

Latin America

Cuba's new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel.Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel. (PHOTO: VCG)

Miguel Diaz-Canel was elected to succeed Raul Castro as Cuba’s new president at a plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday.

The country’s National Assembly announced that Diaz-Canel won 99.83 percent affirmative vote.

The 57-year-old Diaz-Canel has spent a long time serving in Communist Party of Cuba. He headed Villa Clara Province from 1994 to 2003 and became the first secretary of the more populous province of Holguin in eastern Cuba in 2003, as well as becoming a member of the Politburo of Communist Party of Cuba.

He served as the minister of higher education before he was elected as the first vice president of the Council of State in 2013.

Cuban President Raul Castro (L) and First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel (C) arrive for a National Assembly session that named the latter as the candidate to succeed Castro as president, in Havana, April 18, 2018. /VCG Photo

The official newspaper in Cuba, Granma, has a series of stories on Diaz-Canel receiving leaders from foreign countries and making trips abroad. He headed a delegation group to China in 2015, the year when the two countries celebrated the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

VOX POP: Cuba after the Castros

CGTN’s Michael Voss spoke to everyday Cubans about their feelings about the new leadership and the direction of the country moving forward.

Diaz-Canel has a reputation for being liberal and supports gay rights, greater press freedom, and access to the Internet.

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