Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cubans prepare to turn the page on Castro era

Castro era
Cuban President Raul Castro is set to step down on Thursday, passing the baton to a new generation in a transition that brings to a close the Castro brothers' six-decade grip on power.

"We have come a long way... so that our children, those of the present and those of the future, will be happy," Mr Castro said in one of his last speeches as leader last month.

The 86-year-old has been in power since 2006, when he took over after illness sidelined his brother Fidel, who seized power in the 1959 revolution.

Between them, father of the nation Fidel and younger brother Raul ruled Cuba for nearly 60 years, making the Caribbean island a key player in the Cold War and helping keep communism afloat despite the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On Thursday, that chapter of history will come to a close when the National Assembly elects a new president of the Council of State, catapulting the island into the post-Castro era.

The Assembly will begin gathering tomorrow, although the vote itself will take place on Thursday.

Members are widely expected to select current First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, a grey-haired 57-year-old who has climbed the party ranks and has been Raul Castro's right-hand man since 2013.

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