Will Miguel Díaz-Canel Be Just as Powerful as the Castro Brothers Once He Becomes President of Cuba?
Fidel and Raul Castro have been the leaders of Cuba for the past 60 years but it will end on Feb. 24, 2018 when Miguel Diaz-Canel finally takes over. The 55-year-old became the first vice-president of the Council of State back in 2013 and has been given the stamp of approval by Raul Castro.
"Comrade Díaz-Canel is not an upstart nor improvised," the younger Castro said when Diaz-Canel became vice-president. But who is this person that was endorsed to become Cuba's next president?
Who is Miguel Diaz-Canel?
Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez was proclaimed by Raul Castro as his successor in 2013. He has been working his way up the Cuban hierarchy in the last 30 years, serving in provincial positions and as minister of higher education.
Diaz-Canel is seen as a serious man in front of the cameras but is rumored to be funny and a Beatles fan. He is an electrical engineer who graduated from Marta Abreu University of Las Villas in 1982. The 55-year-old is active on social media and regularly posts images of him with the president.
"He is well-liked, young, well-educated, and he's gone through all the different hoops. That he is admired in the often snippy world of university circles is very significant and shows he has the talent for handling people," professor Rafael Betancourt of the University of Havana said.
Will He Have the Same Power as the Castro Brothers?
"He will be a puppet. The power is in the military forces," Cuban dissident and human rights activist Antonio Rodiles said. Many political analysts have a feeling that Díaz-Canel is just a temporary leader as third-generation members of the Castro family will likely end up ruling Cuba after him.
Raul Castro's son Alejandro is currently a colonel in Cuba's Interior Ministry security forces while his son-in-law Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas is also a colonel in the army. The Cuban armed forces are believed to have almost all of Cuba's money and control most of the island's economy.
They reportedly control banks, gas stations, real estate, restaurants and the tourism industry. However, it should be noted that both Alejandro and Lopez-Callejas are not seeing eye-to-eye at the moment.
"The military may not be a threat, but it will always be there. Diaz-Canel has an arduous road to walk," former Cuban intelligence agent Arturo Lopez Levy said.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!