July 9, 2016. Cuba's President Raul Castro (L) chats with Cuba's Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel react during the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, July 8, 2016. (REUTERS/ISMAEL FRANCISCO/CUBADEBATE)
April 19, 2018
For the first time in 60 years, someone other than Fidel or Raul Castro will govern Cuba. The government has nominated First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel as the sole candidate for president. His term is likely to start when Raul steps down during a session of the National Assembly that is underway.
Raul Castro came to power in 2006 when his older brother Fidel, who had ruled for almost half a century, stepped aside due to deteriorating health. After assuming control Raul began rolling back some of the restrictions imposed by his older brother. Until 2008, Cubans weren’t allowed mobile phones, internet access, or to stay at Cuban hotels and resorts. Perhaps the most historic of his rule was ending a 50 year standoff with the United States when he agreed to work with US President Barack Obama on restoring the two countries’ diplomatic relations.
It’s unclear the path Diaz-Canel will take as a leader. One thing is certain, he’ll become president at a time when Cuba faces a serious economic crisis, compounded by the dwindling subsidies from Venezuela, the continuation of US embargos, and major income inequality. So what will Cuba’s future be under the new leader? We’ll discuss that, and the legacy of the Castros on this episode of The Stream.