END OF CASTRO ERA ON CUBA

Daily Telegraph, London, reported on March 4, 2013, that Raul Castro has announced he will stand down in 2018, heralding the end of the Castro-era after almost six decades as he named a probable successor not even born at the time of the Cuban revolution. Excerpts below:

The president of Cuba named 52-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, a rising star from a new generation within the Communist Party, as his most senior vice-president, paving the way for him to step in as the natural successor.

”This will be my last term,” announced Mr Castro, 81, in a surprise move after being elected to a second five-year term of office by the national assembly.

Castro, who formally assumed the presidency from his ailing elder brother Fidel in 2008, also hinted at constitutional change that will limit future rulers.

In a 35-minute speech to parliament late on Sunday, Mr Castro said Cuba was at a moment of “historic transcendence” and that the time had come to “orderly transfer key roles to new generations”.

Mr Diaz-Canel’s promotion means he could step into the role of president if Mr Castro were unable to finish his term in office.

Mr Diaz-Canel, seen as a Castro-loyalist and technocrat, has been groomed for high office since becoming the youngest ever member of Cuba’s politburo in 2003.

The younger Castro, who has initiated a series of reforms on the island over the last five years, including easing travel restrictions for Cuban citizens and expanding private enterprise, expressed [comment: as usual] his commitment to the revolution.

Analysts said Castro’s announcement paved the way for future transition.

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