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

AFP , Thursday 19 Apr 2018

Diaz-Canel and Castro
Handout picture released by Cuban official website shsowing outgoing Cuban President Raul Castro (R) raising the arm of Cuba's new President Miguel Diaz-Canel after he was formally named by the National Assembly, in Havana on April 19, 2018. (SOURCE: AFP)

Cuba's new President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who was on Thursday named as Raul Castro's successor, vowed to keep the Caribbean island on the path of "revolution" but also on the path of economic reform.

"The mandate given by the people to this legislature is to continue the Cuban revolution at this crucial historic moment, which will be marked by what we must do to implement the economic model" put in place by Castro, he said.

"I have come to work, and not to make promises," he told the National Assembly, whose 605 delegates elected him in a vote on Wednesday, pledging to remain "loyal to the legacy of comandante Fidel Castro, but also to the example, the values and the teachings of General Raul Castro."

Castro, who remains head of the all-powerful Communist Party, would "preside over the most important decisions for the present and future of our nation."

The 57-year-old, who has spent years climbing the party ranks, was named the sole candidate for the presidency on Wednesday and was formally named on Thursday to a five-year term, taking the helm a day before his 58th birthday.

Cuba, he said, would remain "olive green" in honor of the military fatigues worn by the victorious revolutionaries of 1959.

And he noted he would have Raul Castro as a guide -- a nod to those veterans of the revolution with concerns that their socialist legacy may be buried by the tide of reform.

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