Cuba's New President Is The First Non-Castro In 42 Years. How Much Power Will He Have?

Apr 19, 2018

Cuba's new President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel grew up in the Cuban revolution and it's clear his mission is to make sure it survives.

In his first speech as president Thursday, Díaz-Canel emphasized continuity with the past and an important and ongoing political role for retiring Cuban president Raúl Castro, 86, who will remain at the helm of the Communist Party of Cuba.

"The mandate given by the people to this legislature is the continuity of the revolution," said Díaz-Canel, who turns 58 on Friday. The new president pledged to be faithful to the legacy of the late Fidel Castro and the example of his brother Raúl. "The revolution continues and will continue to be alive."

A sustained standing ovation greeted Díaz-Canel and Castro as they entered Havana's Convention Palace together just before Díaz-Canel was confirmed by the National Assembly of People's Power as the new president.

The National Assembly on Wednesday cast ballots for 31 members of the Council of State, including president, but waited until Thursday to announce the results. Not surprisingly Díaz-Canel and the others all won because there was only one candidate proposed for each slot. Deputies could vote yes or no on the entire slate or just pass judgment on individual candidates.

All but two of the 604 deputies who voted cast ballots for the full slate. Díaz-Canel received 603 of the possible 604 votes.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald