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Thursday, June 4, 2015


Cuban President Raul Castro, 83, (left) with 55-year-old First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez
Editor’s note:  Before returning tomorrow to the April 23 Brigade’s Tour of Cuba 2015, we will pause for one day to discuss two 800-pound gorilla’s in the living room of every Cuban:

--Cuba in the Red.  Understanding the failing Cuban economic model, an in-depth report that answers a lot of questions.  Bear with me on this.  It’s a lengthy essay by the Council on Foreign Affairs and is solid background into to have on hand as we continue visiting Cuba.

--Quiet Man in Havana.  The politico that is being groomed to take over the country after the Castros.


Cuban President Raul Castro has been quoted in the media that he will step down as the leader of the Republic of Cuba in 2018, 60 years after he and brother Fidel Castro came to power in a violent revolution.

But in a nation of political whisperers, the undebated question looms: who will take over the reins of the Cuban government once the Castros choose to cede power?

That man appears to be Miguel-Diaz Canel,** who was appointed first vice president of the Council of State of Cuba by Raul Castro on February 24, 2013.

Born April 20, 1960 Diaz-Canel is 55 years old, a trained electrical engineer, who graduated from Central University of Las Villas in 1982. 

Since 1993, he has been a member of the reigning Communist Party and serves as a member of the party’s Politburo since 2003.  His reputation is that of being a party hardliner.

Being the hand-picked heir to power, Diaz-Canel has to walk carefully and keep his thoughts of assuming power to himself as many of his wannabes found out the hard way.  To succeed politically in Cuba keep your mouth shut as to your political aspirations.  And, keep both eyes on the quiet but omnipresent military establishment.

Diaz-Canel’s resume so far includes university professorships, local government administrator (he’s from Santa Clara) and has served as Minister of Higher Education from 2009 to 2012.

He is a tall man, married with children, and appears to be well liked in the countryside in addition to having Raul Castro’s support.

Pope Francis with Cuba's Miguel Diaz-Canel
With his electronics background, it is not surprising that he has advocated for more growth in information technology (read: expand the Internet in Cuba quickly).

As hot tropical summer of 2015 descends on the Caribbean, all is quiet on Cuba’s political front, but as 2018 approaches all bets may be off.  Cuba’s political hurricane season is obviously still in the future.  And, hurricane’s can be dangerous.

**This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Díaz-Canel and the second or maternal family name is Bermúdez.

Forward to Day 4 of the April 23 Brigade's Tour of Cuba 2015.

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