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Miguel Díaz-Canel

Miguel Díaz-Canel (American Spanish: [miˈɣel ˈ kaˈnel]; born 20 April 1960, full name Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez) is a Cuban politician currently serving as the President of Cuba since 2019. He was previously President of the Council of State from 2018 to 2019 and 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]

Miguel Díaz-Canel
Miguel Díaz-Canel (cropped).jpg
President of the Republic of Cuba
Assumed office
10 October 2019
Prime MinisterHimself
Vice PresidentSalvador Valdés Mesa
LeaderRaúl Castro (First Secretary of the Communist Party)
Preceded byOsvaldo Dorticós (until 1976)
Himself as State Council president
President of the Council of State
In office
19 April 2018 – 10 October 2019
Vice PresidentSalvador Valdés Mesa
LeaderRaúl Castro (First Secretary of the Communist Party)
Preceded byRaúl Castro
Succeeded byEsteban Lazo Hernández (not head of state)
President of the Council of Ministers
Assumed office
19 April 2018
DeputySalvador Valdés Mesa
Preceded byRaúl Castro
3rd First Vice President of the Council of State
In office
24 February 2013 – 19 April 2018
PresidentRaúl Castro
Preceded byJosé Ramón Machado
Succeeded bySalvador Valdés Mesa
Minister of Higher Education
In office
8 May 2009 – 21 March 2012
PresidentRaúl Castro
Preceded byJuan Vela Valdés
Succeeded byRodolfo Alarcón Ortiz
Personal details
Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez

(1960-04-20) 20 April 1960 (age 59)
Placetas, Villa Clara, Cuba
Political partyCommunist Party
Spouse(s)Martha (divorced)
Lis Cuesta
EducationMarta Abreu University of Las Villas

He was selected to succeed Raúl Castro as the candidate for President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers on 18 April 2018, and sworn into office the following day after nationwide polling. His two predecessors in the role were brothers, by blood, and notably his succession from Raúl Castro represents a clearly non-dynastic form of succession for the Communist Party as well as the Republic of Cuba. Díaz-Canel is therefore the first president to not be a Castro family member since Osvaldo Dorticós in 1976 and the first leader of the government who is not a Castro since José Miró Cardona in 1959. Miguel Díaz-Canel is likely to succeed Raúl Castro as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most powerful position of Cuba in 2021.[2]

Early lifeEdit

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 careerEdit

Díaz-Canel with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on March 23, 2015

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 the Council of State.[7]

President of CubaEdit

Miguel Diaz-Canel and Ilham Aliyev
Díaz-Canel with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, November 2, 2018

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 most 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 was little-known to the public before becoming president. Policy experts expected him to pursue cautious reform of his predecessors' economic policies, while preserving the country's social structure.[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]

He received Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro just 2 days after his inauguration. He met with Maduro again in May of 2018 in Caracas, during first official foreign visit as head of state. In his first multinational political trip since becoming President, Díaz-Canel traveled in November 2018 to visit all of Cuba's Eurasian allies. Diplomatic meetings were held in Russia, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Laos. Brief stopovers in the United Kingdom and France also included meetings with British parliamentarians and French leaders. In March 2019, Díaz-Canel and his wife hosted Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in Havana as the first British royals to visit the island.[16]

In October 2019, Diaz-Canel became the official "President of the Republic of Cuba", an office that was recreated that February after a series of constitutional reforms being approved in a constitutional referendum.[17] This office replaced the one he had held since April of the previous year, which was the President of the Council of State, whose duties were carried out by Esteban Lazo Hernández in his authority as the President of the National Assembly of People's Power. Diaz-Canel's reforms among other things, added the creation of a two consecutive five-year term limit for the presidency and banned discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation/gender identity and/or disability.[18][19][20][21]

State visitsEdit

As First Vice-PresidentEdit

Country Areas visited Date(s) Notes
  South Africa Pretoria March 16 2015 [22]
  Angola Luanda March 17 2015 40 years of independence of this African country and the establishment of relations between Cuba and Angola. [23]
  Namibia Windhoek March 20 2015 25th anniversary of Namibian independence [24]
  Angola Luanda September 26 2017 Inauguration of Angolan President[25]

As President of CubaEdit

Diaz-Canel and Vladimir Putin at Novo-Ogaryovo, 29 October 2019.

Personal lifeEdit

Díaz-Canel has two children with his first wife, Martha. He currently resides with his second wife, Lis Cuesta.[26]

See alsoEdit


  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 from 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 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".
  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". Diario Granma. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  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 (20 April 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 19 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Charles and Camilla make history in Cuba". 25 March 2019 – via
  17. ^ Cuba’s Reformed Constitution, a Democratic and Participatory Process Havana Times, 23 July 2018
  18. ^ Marc Frank (21 February 2019). "Explainer: What is old and new in Cuba's proposed constitution". Reuters. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  19. ^ Antonio Recio (21 August 2018). "Some Traps in Cuba's New Constitution". The Havana Times.
  20. ^ "Cuba expands rights but rejects radical change in updated constitution". UPI. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  21. ^ Mega, Emiliano Rodríguez (8 March 2019). "Cuba acknowledges climate change threats in its constitution". Nature. 567 (7747): 155. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00760-3. PMID 30862928.
  22. ^ Russell (23 March 2015). "Díaz-Canel reaffirms Cuba's unconditional support for the African cause". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Diaz-Canel: We come to Angola to confirm our friendship, our brotherhood". 23 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Cuba´s First Vice-president Attends Inauguration of Namibian President". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Radio Havana Cuba - Miguel Diaz-Canel Heading Cuba's Delegation to New Angolan President's Inauguration". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Quién es Miguel Díaz-Canel, el sucesor de Fidel y Raúl Castro". 25 February 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2015.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado
(until 1976)
President of Cuba
Preceded by
Raúl Castro
President of the Council of State
Succeeded by
Esteban Lazo Hernández
(not head of state)
President of the Council of Ministers
Preceded by
José Ramón Machado Ventura
First Vice President of the Council of State
Succeeded by
Salvador Valdés Mesa