Miguel Díaz-Canel has been sworn in as Cuba’s new president, replacing Raúl Castro who took over from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006. It is the first time since the revolution in 1959 that a Castro is not at the helm of the government. Mr Díaz-Canel had been serving as fi rst vice-president for the past five years. Even though Mr Díaz-Canel was born after the revolution, he is a staunch ally of Raúl Castro and is not expected to make any radical changes.
He was elected by the members of theNational Assembly, all 605 of whom were voted in in March after standing unopposed. Mr Castro is expected to continue wielding considerable political infl uence in his role as the leader of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party. In his inaugural speech, Mr Díaz-Canel said that his mandate was “to ensure the continuity of the Cuban revolution at a key historic moment” and assured the members of the National Assembly that “the revolution continues its course”.
He said that Cuba’s foreign policy would remain “unaltered” and that any “necessary changes” would be decided by the Cuban people. He also said that there was “no room in Cuba for those who strive for the restoration of capitalism”. Any changes Mr Díaz-Canel will bring in are likely to be gradual, slow-paced and in keeping with the reforms Raúl Castro introduced since he first took over power from his brother, Fidel.