Miguel Díaz-Canel will succeed Raúl Castro as the Cuban Communist Party’s first secretary, the most powerful position on the island. He is the first person without the surname Castro to run Cuba since the 1959 revolution. Díaz-Canel is seen as loyal to the Castros and their economic model. On Friday, Raúl Castro announced that he would step down from the key position of the party and hand over the leadership to a younger generation.
At 60, Díaz-Canel is almost 30 years younger than his predecessor and will now hold Cuba’s two most important positions, head of the party and president of the state.
Eighty nine year old Castro had been in the post since 2011, when he took over from his older brother, Fidel Castro. An electrical engineer by training, Díaz-Canel has been a party functionary for most of his life. He was born in Villa Clara, the province where Che Guevara broke the will of Fulgencio Batista’s troops, bringing about the revolution.