Miguel Díaz-Canel

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Miguel Díaz-Canel
Miguel Diaz Canel.jpg
17th President of Cuba
Assumed office
19 April 2018
Vice President Salvador Valdés Mesa
Leader Raúl Castro (First Secretary of the Communist Party)
Preceded by Raúl Castro
3rd First Vice President of Cuba
In office
24 February 2013 – 19 April 2018
President Raúl Castro
Preceded by José Ramón Machado
Succeeded by Salvador Valdés Mesa
Minister of Higher Education
In office
8 May 2009 – 21 March 2012
President Raúl Castro
Preceded by Juan Vela Valdés
Succeeded by Rodolfo Alarcón Ortiz
Personal details
Born Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez
(1960-04-20) 20 April 1960 (age 58)
Placetas, Villa Clara, Cuba
Political party Communist Party
Spouse(s) Martha (Divorced)
Lis Cuesta
Children 2
Alma mater Marta Abreu University of Las Villas

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (American Spanish: [miˈɣel ˈdi.as kaˈnel]; born 20 April 1960) is a Cuban politician serving as the current President of Cuba. He was previously First Vice President from 2013 to 2018. He has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba since 2003, and he served as Minister of Higher Education from 2009 to 2012; he was promoted to the post of Vice President of the Council of Ministers (deputy Prime Minister) in 2012. A year later, on 24 February 2013, he was elected as First Vice President of the Council of State.[1]

He was selected to succeed Raúl Castro as President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers on 18 April 2018, and sworn into office the next day. He is the first president to not be a Castro family member in over 40 years.

Miguel Díaz-Canel will succeed Raúl Castro as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most powerful position in Cuba, and become the de facto leader in 2021.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Díaz-Canel was born on 20 April 1960 in Placetas, Villa Clara, to Aída Bermúdez, a schoolteacher, and Miguel Díaz-Canel, a mechanical plant worker in Santa Clara.[3][4] Of direct paternal Spanish (Asturian) descent; his great-grandfather Ramón Díaz-Canel left Castropol, Asturias for Havana in the late 19th century.[5][6]

He graduated from Central University of Las Villas in 1982 as an electronics engineer and thereupon joined the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces.[7] Beginning in April 1985, he taught at his alma mater. In 1987, he completed an international mission in Nicaragua as First Secretary of the Young Communist League of Villa Clara.

Political career[edit]

In 1993, Díaz-Canel started work with the Communist Party of Cuba and a year later was elected First Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee of Villa Clara Province (a position equivalent to a regional governor).[7][8] He gained a reputation for competence in this post,[8] during which time he also championed LGBT rights at a time when many in the province frowned upon homosexuality.[9] In 2003, he was elected to the same position in Holguín Province.[7][10] In the same year, he was co-opted as a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba.[11]

Díaz-Canel was appointed Minister of Higher Education in May 2009, a position that he held until 22 March 2012, when he became Vice President of the Council of Ministers (deputy prime minister).[7][12] In 2013 he additionally became First Vice President of Cuba.[7]

President of Cuba[edit]

As First Vice President of the Council of State, Díaz-Canel acted as deputy to the President, Raúl Castro. In 2018, the 86-year-old Castro stepped down from the presidency, though he retained the powerful position of First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and the commander-in-chief of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces.[13][14] On 18 April 2018, Díaz-Canel was selected as the only candidate to succeed Castro as president.[8] He was confirmed by a vote of the National Assembly on 19 April[8] and sworn in on the same day.[15]

He is a party technocrat who is little-known to the public. Policy experts expect him to pursue cautious reform of his predecessors' economic policies, while preserving the country's social structure.[9] Journalist Andrés Oppenheimer has argued that, with the power that Castro has kept, the president of Cuba would be a mere protocolar[clarification needed] office, unable to make any actual changes.[14] He is the first president born after the 1959 Cuban Revolution and the first since 1976 not to be a member of the Castro family.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Díaz-Canel has two children with his first wife Martha, and he currently resides with his second wife Lis Cuesta.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ratificado Raúl como presidente del Consejo de Estado y del Consejo de Ministros (+ Fotos)". Cubadebate. 
  2. ^ "Miguel Diaz-Canel named Cuba's new president". CNN. 20 April 2018. Still, Castro made clear Díaz-Canel will ultimately succeed him as head of the Communist Party when he steps down form that post in 2021. 
  3. ^ "Díaz-Canel no es un relevo histórico". Martinoticias. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Ahmed, Azam; Robles, Frances (19 April 2018). "Who Is Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba's New President?". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  5. ^ Cuba ya tiene un nuevo presidente, de ascendencia asturiana - ileon
  6. ^ De ruta por las raíces asturianas de Miguel Díaz-Canel - El Comercio
  7. ^ a b c d e Damien Cave, Raúl Castro Says His Current Term as President of Cuba Will Be His Last, The New York Times, 24 February 2013
  8. ^ a b c d Press, Associated (19 April 2018). "Miguel Díaz-Canel: Cuba selects first non-Castro president since Fidel". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018. 
  9. ^ a b c Augustin, Ed (18 April 2018). "After six decades of Castro rule, Cubans greet end of era with a shrug". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018. 
  10. ^ "En sustitución de Juan Vela es designado Miguel Díaz Canel ministro de Educación Superior". cubaheadlines.com. 
  11. ^ Ryan Villarreal (26 February 2013). "Sustaining The System: Cuba's New VP Diaz-Canel Marks Ascent Of Younger Generation". International Business Times. 
  12. ^ "Nota oficial". www.granma.cubasi.cu. 
  13. ^ "Raul Castro to lead Cuba's Communist Party until 2021". FRANCE 24. 19 April 2018. 'I confirm to this assembly that Raul Castro, as first secretary of the Communist Party, will lead the decisions about the future of the country,' Diaz-Canel said. 
  14. ^ a b Andrés Oppenheimer (April 20, 2018). "Cuba's new 'babysaur' to replace a dinosaur is no cause of celebration—it's shameful!". Miami Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2018. 
  15. ^ "Cuba's Raúl Castro hands over power to Miguel Díaz-Canel". BBC News. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-19. 
  16. ^ "Quién es Miguel Díaz-Canel, el sucesor de Fidel y Raúl Castro". 25 February 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Raúl Castro
President of Cuba
Prime Minister of Cuba
Preceded by
José Ramón Machado Ventura
First Vice President of Cuba
Succeeded by
Salvador Valdés Mesa