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Who will be Cuba's new leader?

Miguel Diaz-Canel to possibly lead communist regime

HAVANA – Cuban leader Raul Castro said he will step down as president in a year, ending a Castro reign that will have spanned nearly six decades.

The successor has already been named, but what will the future hold for the communist country?

Political analyst Carlos Alzugaray said look for some changes.

"There is going to be a constitutional reform to adapt the constitution to the new condition. The new constitution has to incorporate term limits (and) age limits that Raul Castro has proposed," Alzugaray said.

There is also talk of a smaller national assembly that will return to the capitol building, which is currently under renovation.

"I think he's preparing the way for the next generation of Cuban leaders," Alzugaray said. "That that next generation operates under a highly institutionalized environment in which political processes will be more predictable and will be more open."

Alzugaray pointed to a transformation happening on the island right now, a result, he said, of the development in Cuba.

"There is an expansion of the private sector. The private sector is growing, and there is nothing that the Cuban government can do to stop that from happening," he said. "Their political activity will be very much determined by how well they manage the economy, how well they manage the economic transition and how much public space they open for different ideas."

The high-profiled man who keeps getting mentioned as the possible successor is Miguel Diaz-Canel, the country's current and first vice-president in the Council of States.

He is an engineer by trade, with party and government experience. Diaz-Canel, 56, was at one point the secretary of the communist youth.

"He's a guy who is modern, goes around with a tablet, carries out a good conversation and he reads a lot," Alzugaray said.

As for what Cuba might look like in the future, it has been mentioned that the island may look to the east with a tropical twist.

"They'll probably look at the socialism of China and Vietnam as an example to follow, but they also argue that Cuba has its own characteristics that are not similar," Alzugaray said.


About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.