You’d think it would be an exciting time for the Cuban people to be led by someone not named Castro for the first time in 59 years. But, it looks like the people of Cuba are just going to be getting more of the same.
Miguel Diaz-Canel — who was born the year after the late Communist dictator Fidel Castro took power in Cuba — was named the successor of outgoing president Raul Castro on Thursday. Diaz-Canel was previously named Raul Castro’s First Vice President in 2013 — which means top vice president — so that he could be groomed to take Castro’s role as president when Castro decided to step down.
According to CNN, Diaz-Canel will remain a Castro puppet — at least for the immediate future:
Raul Castro is still expected to exercise a large measure of control over the Cuban government and have the final say on important decisions. He will remain first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, a member of the National Assembly and, even if he is no longer president, the most powerful public figure on the island.
In remarks following the National Assembly's announcement, Diaz-Canel acknowledged that Raul Castro would remain as the head of the armed forces, which runs much of the Cuban economy and tourism industry.
Diaz-Canel is actually kind of perfect if you’re a Cuban Communist supporter. He knows no other life than the “revolutionary” Communism of the Castros. Diaz-Canel has been active in the Communist Party for the majority of his life.
According to the BBC:
He studied electrical engineering and began his political career in his early 20s as a member of the Young Communist League in Santa Clara, a city which was the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution and which to this day is dominated by the Che Guevara Mausoleum.
While teaching engineering at the local university, he worked his way up the ranks of the Young Communist League, becoming its second secretary at the age of 33[…]
Despite his steady work at provincial level, it took Mr Díaz-Canel another 10 years, until 2003, to make it onto the Politburo, the Communist Party's executive committee.
In 2009, he was elevated to the post of minister of higher education and in 2013 he finally made it to vice-president.
The appointment of yet another Communist like Diaz-Canel has to be disheartening for opposition in Cuba that saw a possible light at the end of the tunnel with the exit of the Castros. It’ll be interesting to see how many strings Castro has with which to continue to exert political power through the possible puppet that is Diaz-Canel.
To see Diaz-Canel's appointment to the Cuban presidency, watch below: