Ready....Cuba's new president Diaz-Canel vows to 'continue' revolution

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19 de abril de 2018, 15:32Beijing, April 19 (Prensa Latina) Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Miguel Diaz Canel for his election as the president of Cuba, promissed to further strengthen friendship between the two people and whished to deepen friendly relations with the new leadership of the Caribbean island.

"The people have given this assembly the mandate to provide continuity to the Cuban Revolution during a crucial, historic moment that will be defined by all that we achieve in the advance of the modernization of our social and economic model", Diaz-Canel said.

The inauguration, following Castro's reported selection of Diaz-Canel as his successor and an almost-unanimous vote by the National Assembly, marks the first time since 1959 that the country will be led by a president who is not in the Castro family.

Analysts are skeptical about the potential for radical change, believing that Castro will still exercise considerable power as he remains head of the Communist Party until the 2021 congress, at which point his son Alejandro could take over. Diaz-Canel's first speech as the Cuban leader emphasized that his main goal will be to continue the Revolution launched on January 1,1959, and the legacy of its historic leader Fidel Castro (1926-2016) and the ideas of his predecessor, Raul Castro.

Diaz-Canel, who some say bears a passing resemblance to American actor Richard Gere, is a fan of The Beatles whose penchant for wearing jeans has set him apart in Havana's corridors of power.

Residents of Villa Clara and Holguin still remember him as a modest man, competent and close to the people, with a high sense of teamwork and constantly demanding subordinates to preach by example.

It's the first time in almost six decades that Cuba is being led by a man not named Castro.

Diaz-Canel, who has spent years climbing the party ranks, was named the sole candidate for the presidency on Wednesday. He became higher education minister in 2009 before moving into the vice presidency.

Diaz-Canel will also inherit a youthful population hungry for change on the Caribbean island - one of the world's last outposts of Communism since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He delivered a warm homage to 86-year-old Raul Castro, who took office a decade ago as his brother Fidel Castro's health deteriorated.

Castro's moves to open the economy have largely been frozen or reversed as soon as they began to generate conspicuous shows of wealth by the new entrepreneurial class in a country officially dedicated to equality among its citizens. Only one, 85-year-old Ramiro Valdez, was among the revolutionaries who fought with the Castros in the late 1950s in the eastern Sierra Maestra mountains.

State media went into overdrive Wednesday with a single message: Cuba's system is continuing in the face of change.