Cuba proposes Miguel Diaz-Canel as next president

Cuba proposes Miguel Diaz-Canel as next president

Under the Cuban Constitution, the president of the State Council is the head of state and government.

"After that, a new generation may have other ideas".

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, 60, is expected to get a senior role in the new government, after helping to nurture detente with the United States in 2014, and renewing Cuba's traditional defiance after Donald Trump shifted policies.

The result of the votes for president and vice presidents and other national leaders is expected to be officially announced Thursday, the anniversary of the USA -backed Bay of Pigs invasion defeated by Cuban forces in 1961. They see it as a mere passing of the torch from one dictator to another with practically no chances of improving relations between the United States and Cuba.

Castro, 86, was due to step down on Thursday after 10 years in office.

Most Cubans know their first vice president as an uncharismatic figure who until recently maintained a public profile so low it was virtually nonexistent.

Some believe that Diaz-Canel will give the people more of the same, but others welcome the change.

The nomination must be approved by the Cuban National Assembly, which has historically approved nominations.

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William Leogrande, a professor and Latin America expert at the American University School of Public Affairs, said Raul Castro's legacy hinges on how well his successor is able to grow Cuba's economy and continue his path of reform. Though the reforms caused a boom in the Cuban economy, they have since slowed.

As in Cuba's legislative elections, all of the leaders being voted in on Wednesday are selected by a government-appointed commission. Only one of the five, 85-year-old Ramiro Valdez, was among the revolutionaries who fought with the Castros in the eastern Sierra Maestra mountains.

That media went into overdrive Wednesday with a single message: Cuba's system is continuing in the face of change.

Few Cubans use Twitter and the vast majority of the country relies on television for news. "We're a generation born after the revolution, whose responsibility is driving the destiny of the nation". Ballots offer only the option of approving or disapproving the official candidate. Ceremonies continued through lunchtime and broke until Thursday morning, when the new national leadership is expected to be officially announced on the anniversary of the defeat of USA -backed invaders at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

The president and vice-president of Cuba and other national leaders will be voted on later in the day.

Castro, who had served for decades as defence minister, became president in 2008 when Fidel Castro, his health failing, formally handed over power.

Cuba on Wednesday launched the day-long process of selecting Raul Castro's successor as president of Cuba, the centrepiece of an effort to ensure that the country's single-party system outlasts the ageing revolutionaries who created it.

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