Latin America

Cuba: Miguel Díaz-Canel confirmed as President

Cuba's parliament re-elected Miguel Díaz-Canel as president. The 62-year-old will remain in office for five more years. The outcome was already agreed before the election.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel will remain in office for another five years. In the constituent session of the new National Assembly, the 62-year-old was confirmed for another term.

The first head of state of the socialist Caribbean state after the Castro era received 97.66 percent of the votes in the National Assembly, according to the party newspaper “Granma” – he received 459 out of 460 valid votes.

The first non-Castro president since 1959

In 2018, Díaz-Canel became the first ruler after the 1959 revolution whose name was not Castro to become the head of state. His predecessor, the 91-year-old Raúl Castro, whose right-hand man he was, had relinquished power. In 2021, Díaz-Canel also took over from Castro as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party – the only legal party in the island nation.

According to Cuba’s current constitution, which went into effect in 2019, a president cannot serve more than two terms in a row – so Díaz-Canel is expected to end in 2028.

Raúl Castro’s brother Fidel Castro, who died in 2016, ruled the country for almost 50 years after the revolution. The National Assembly, Cuba’s only parliamentary chamber, was elected in March.

Country experiences supply shortages and inflation

In the election, 470 candidates, previously checked by the electoral commission, ran for as many parliamentary seats and without opposition challengers. All received the necessary majority of votes – Raúl Castro also remained a member of parliament. The National Assembly elects the President and Vice-President from among its ranks – the result of the election was thus clear.

Díaz-Canel’s biggest challenges are high inflation and shortages of food, medicine and electricity, as well as United States sanctions. Recently, numerous Cubans had tried to emigrate to the USA or other countries.

Cuba’s President Díaz-Canel remains in office

There is only one party in Cuba’s parliament – and head of state Miguel Díaz-Canel has now confirmed it in office for another five years. He promises a fight against high inflation. But his record is poor.

Cuba is not about to change course for the time being: President Miguel Díaz-Canel was elected to a second term by the one-party parliament on Wednesday. His candidacy was accepted with 97.66 percent of the vote, said Parliament Speaker Esteban Lazo. Díaz-Canel was the only candidate.

The 62-year-old took over the reins in the Caribbean island state after the end of the Castro era. His first five years as President were shaped by the corona pandemic and the resulting worst economic crisis in the last 30 years.

2021 saw the largest anti-government protests since the Cuban revolution of 1959. The government reacted with a heavy hand: According to human rights organizations, one person died, dozens were injured and more than 1,300 were arrested. Since then, more and more Cubans have left the country. In 2022 alone there were more than 300,000.

Díaz-Canel wants to fight inflation – critics complain about the lack of reforms

According to the AP news agency, Díaz-Canel announced that he wanted to focus “immediately” on food production and increased exports. Curbing inflation – which is currently around 40 percent according to official figures – is also a priority.

The Cuban Constitution allows the President to serve only two consecutive terms. Since 2021, Díaz-Canel has also been the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most important post in the country long held by revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and then his brother Raul.

According to the AP, critics accuse Díaz-Canel of wasting opportunities for political and economic change early in his first term. In 2016, after around 60 years of uninterrupted rule, Díaz-Canel replaced the Castro brothers at the head of state.

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