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As the Castro era ends, what’s next for Cuba?




Cuban President Raul Castro (C) welcomes Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu (R) at the Revolution Palace in Havana, on January 9, 2018.
Cuban President Raul Castro (C) welcomes Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu (R) at the Revolution Palace in Havana, on January 9, 2018.
ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

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For the first time in 60 years, Cuba will be ruled by someone outside of the Castro family.

The transition of power takes place today. The Cuban government on Wednesday selected 57-year-old First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate to succeed President Raul Castro. His approval is all but certain. The move will ensure that the country's single-party system outlasts the aging revolutionaries who created it.

The 86-year-old Castro will remain head of the Communist Party, designated by the constitution as "the superior guiding force of society and the state." As a result, Castro will remain the most powerful person in Cuba for the time being. His departure from the presidency is nonetheless a symbolically charged moment for a country accustomed to 60 years of absolute rule first by revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and, for the last decade, his younger brother.

With files from the Associated Press.

 

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guest:

Will Grant, correspondent for the BBC in Havana, Cuba; he tweets @will_grant