Home World Cubans got new leader: Miguel Díaz-Canel

Cubans got new leader: Miguel Díaz-Canel

President Miguel Díaz-Canel (60) has been appointed party leader of the Cuban Communist Party and is now the most powerful man in the country. He succeeds 89 – year-old Raúl Castro, the brother of the late President and former party leader Fidel Castro. With the appointment of Díaz-Canel, the Castro era in Cuba has ended. The brothers Fidel and Raúl had been in power for sixty years.

The election of Díaz-Canel, on the last day of the four-day congress of the Communist Party, it was already expected. Hundreds of party delegates gathered in Havana for the party’s most important meeting. Raúl Castro had already announced at the party congress in 2016 that he was starting his last term as president.

His successor Díaz-Canel, who turns 61 tomorrow, was born in the city of Santa Clara and trained as an engineer. Through the youth movement of the Communist Party he managed to become a director. In 2009 he became minister of Education. In 2012, he became one of Cuba’s vice presidents. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed First Vice President.

In 2018, Díaz-Canel succeeded Castro as president of Cuba. Since then, he seems to be cautiously encouraging economic reform in Cuba. Cubans are now allowed to set up small private companies and more and more people are also able to use the internet. Observers assume, however, that despite his old age – he will turn 90 in June – Raúl Castro continues to exert great influence behind the scenes.

At the moment, Cuba is in a difficult economic situation. The economy has shrunk by 11 percent. The coronavirus pandemic stopped tourists coming to the island. In addition, the US sanctions weigh heavily on the land.

New reforms have been announced, for example for Cuban farmers who are now allowed to slaughter a cow and sell the meat under strict conditions. Cuba is also trying to develop coronavirus vaccines on its own in the hope of getting tourism back on track. The development of two Cuban vaccines would have progressed so far that the regime expects to be able to use them soon.

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