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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Cuba's Communist Party Chooses Diaz-Canel as New Leader

By VOA News April 20, 2021

Cuba's president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, will become the leader of country's communist party, two days after Raul Castro said he was retiring from the position.

The announcement was made on Monday, making it the second time Miguel Diaz-Canel has followed in the footsteps of Raul Castro. The first time as president and now with more influential position of becoming the leader of the party.

Diaz-Canel, 60, took over the presidency from his mentor, Raul Castro, in 2018. But during Castro's retirement speech, part of which was televised, Castro fell short of announcing who would succeed him as party leader.

Diaz-Canel, who turns 61 Tuesday, has begun to open the state-dominated economy, something that many young Cubans support.

His appointment ends the rule of the Castros but hardly their influence.

The Castros led a revolution that overthrew the authoritarian rule of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. The Cuban Communist Party was formed six years after with Fedel Castron, Rau's older brother, as its leader.

Fidel Castro held the country under his tight control until his health forced him to cede the presidency to Raul in 2006.

In 2011, Fidel Castro handed over the leadership of the communist party to his younger brother to continue their legacy. Four years later, in 2016, Castro died.

Although he was born a year after the revolution, Diaz-Canel has always been in the shadow of the Castros.

He was appointed a minister of higher education in 2009, rose through the ranks until his appointment in 2012 as first vice president.

Diaz-Canel, a one-time youth non-conformist is an engineer by profession but has mostly been a politician who worked his way to the top.

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