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The president of the Republic of Cuba (Spanish: Presidente de la República de Cuba), officially called president of the Council of State (Spanish: Presidente del Consejo de Estado de Cuba) between 1976 and 2019, is the head of the Council of State of Cuba. The office in its current form was established under the Constitution of 2019. The president is the second most powerful position, after the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.[2]

President of the Republic of Cuba
Presidente de la República de Cuba
Flag of the President of Cuba.svg
Official Standard
Miguel Diaz Canel.jpg
Miguel Díaz-Canel

since April 19, 2018
Council of State
StyleMr. President (Informal)
His Excellency (In international correspondence)
StatusHead of state
Head of government
Member ofCouncil of Ministers
ResidencePalacio de la Revolución
AppointerNational Assembly of People's Power
Term lengthFive years, renewable once[1]
Inaugural holderTomás Estrada Palma (1902)
Fidel Castro (1976 Constitution)
DeputyFirst Vice President of the Council of State

Under the 1901 constitution, Cuba had a presidential system based on that of the United States.

In 1940, a new constitution reformed the government into a semi-presidential system, 18 years before its modern archetype – the French Fifth Republic – came into being.

On 2 December 1976, the executive was reformed again by a new national constitution, this time in emulation of the Soviet Union. The presidential office was abolished and replaced by a collective head of state, the Council of State, elected by the National Assembly of People's Power. However, unlike the USSR's arrangements, where the chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers were distinct posts, the chairman of the Council of State also chaired the Council of Ministers.

Furthermore, unlike English and Russian, Spanish does not distinguish between the terms "chairman/председатель" and "president/президент", translating both as "presidente". Thus, when back-translated into English, the term used was not "Chairman" (on the precedent of similar institutions in countries whose languages have a chairman/president distinction, such as the USSR and East Germany), but rather "President", from the shared etymology with the Spanish "presidente".

The incumbent since 19 April 2018 has been Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took over from Raúl Castro on that date.

On February 24, 2019, another constitution – Cuba's current – was adopted in a referendum. Under it, the government was again re-organized, and the posts of President and Prime Minister were restored. This reorganization, however, has yet to enter into effect.[3]

In cases of the absence, illness or death of the president of the Council of State, a vice president assumes the President’s duties.

The position is distinct from the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba; although Fidel Castro held both positions from 1976 to 2008, and Raúl Castro held both positions from 2011 to 2018.

The current president is Miguel Díaz-Canel.


The president of Cuba has the power to:

  1. Propose to the National Assembly of People’s Power, once elected by that body, the members of the Council of Ministers;
  2. Accept (based on personal preference) the resignation of the members of the Council of Ministers or propose either to the National Assembly of People’s Power or the Council of State the replacement of any of those members and, in both cases, to propose the corresponding substitutes;
  3. Receive the credentials of the heads of delegation of foreign diplomatic missions. This responsibility may be delegated to any of the vice presidents of the Council of State;
  4. Assume the supreme command of all armed forces and determine their general organization;
  5. Preside over the National Defense Council;
  6. Declare a state emergency in those cases provided for in this Constitution, stating his decision, as soon as the circumstances permit it, to the National Assembly of People’s Power or to the Council of State if the Assembly is unable to meet, according to legal effects;
  7. Sign decree-laws and other resolutions of the Council of State and the legal provisions adopted by the Council of Ministers or its executive committee, and arrange for their publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic;
  8. Assume all other duties assigned it by the Constitution or by law.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Raul Castro says Cuba needs term limits for its leaders". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ {Mimi Whitefield (February 25, 2019). "Cuba approves new constitution: What changes, what doesn't?". Miami Herald. Retrieved February 25, 2019.