Miguel Diaz-Canel officially named Cuba's new president

The Cuban government on Wednesday selected 57-year-old First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz Canel Bermudez as the sole candidate to succeed Raul

Next to him was the empty seat once occupied by Fidel, who died in 2016.

The Florida Republican said in a Wednesday statement that Cuba continues to be oppressed by a single-party system. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Diaz-Canel for his election as the new head of State of Cuba and thanked Raul Castro for the many years of fruitful bilateral cooperation. It would mark the first time in almost six decades that someone from outside the Castro family will hold the island's highest government office.

The party runs vast organizations that coordinate activities for almost every Cuban child and student.

Three of the nominees would be returning to the council.

Members of the National Assembly opened the crucial session a day after voting on Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez's nomination as the sole candidate for leader.

As the NCC finally announced Diaz-Canel's name after months of speculation, he received a standing ovation and a hug from his mentor Raul Castro. He became higher education minister in 2009 before moving into the vice leadership.

She notes that Cubans themselves have little expectation that things will change significantly under his leadership - though, as one taxi driver told Carrie, hopes remain that Díaz-Canel will carry the country forward. A young Afro-Cuban, Cardenas represents the central town of Jovellanos.

His departure from the presidency is nonetheless a symbolically charged moment for a country that has been under the absolute rule of one family since the 1959 revolution.

The accounts are using the hashtag "Somos Continuidad" or "We are continuity". Few Cubans use Twitter and the vast majority of the country relies on TV for news.

Xi said in the congratulatory message that China and Cuba are good comrades, good friends and good partners that sincerely trust each other and share the same fate, adding that the two peoples have cultivated deep friendship through long and hard struggles, serving as a strong force to promote the development of bilateral ties. While the new president is legally commander in chief, Raul's influence is imbued throughout the institution that he led as defense minister for almost half a century.

Legislators erupted in applause Wednesday morning as Castro entered the hall in a dark suit, accompanied by Miguel Diaz-Canel, his expected successor.

Of the 604 lawmakers present, 603 voted in favor of making Diaz-Canel president, marking a generational shift from the elderly leaders who fought to topple dictator Fulgencio Batista. Castro is leaving after serving two five-year terms.

Raul carried on the bulk of Fidel's policies, though change did come in measured steps.

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