Miguel Diaz Canel succeeds Raul Castro as new Cuban president

HAVANA – Cubans elected Miguel Diaz Canel as the new president on Thursday in an historic moment which brought an end to the Castro era.

Outgoing president Raul Castro confirmed to Mr. Diaz Canel that “from this moment on you are the new president of this country” after the vote in Cuba’s National Assembly.

Diaz-Canel, previously the first vice president of the country’s Council of State and Council of Ministers, was “elected” by the Cuban National Assembly, compromised entirely of members of the Communist Party of Cuba whose candidacy must by certified by the state. He was the only candidate on the ballot, having been hand-picked by outgoing president Raul Castro to be his successor.

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The new president said he assumed the role “with the conviction that all we revolutionaries will be faithful to Fidel and Raul.”

On the anniversary of the CIA failed Bay of Pigs coup attempt, one of more than 600 plots to bring down the revolution, Mr. Diaz-Canel explained the “dark attempts to destroy us” had not succeeded.

“The Cuban people, who have massively participated throughout, are conscious of its historic importance. They have elected their representatives based on their capacity to represent their localities, without media campaigns, corruption or demagogy,” he said.

He added the men and women who forged the revolution “gave us the keys to a new fraternity that transforms us into companeros and companeras.”

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Striking an anti-imperialist tone, he added: “Raul remains at the forefront of the political vanguard. He remains our first secretary, as the reference that he is for the revolutionary cause, teaching and always ready to confront imperialism, like the first, with his rifle at the ready in the moment of combat.”

He confirmed that Cuba’s foreign policy will remain unchanged and that there is “no space” for enemies who wish to destroy the work of the revolution.

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“To those who through ignorance or bad faith doubt our commitment, we must tell them that the revolution continues and will continue. The world has received the wrong message that the revolution ends with its guerillas,” Mr. Diaz-Canel said.