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Miguel Díaz-Canel

Miguel Díaz-Canel
Miguel Díaz-Canel 2019.jpg
Díaz-Canel in 2019
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba
Assumed office
19 April 2021
Preceded byRaúl Castro
37th President of the Republic of Cuba
Assumed office
10 October 2019
Prime MinisterManuel Marrero
Vice PresidentSalvador Valdés Mesa
Party LeaderRaúl Castro (2019–2021)
Himself (2021–present)
Preceded byHimself (President of the Council of State)
President of the Council of State
In office
19 April 2018 – 10 October 2019
Vice PresidentSalvador Valdés Mesa
Preceded byRaúl Castro
Succeeded byEsteban Lazo Hernández
President of the Council of Ministers
In office
19 April 2018 – 21 December 2019
Preceded byRaúl Castro
Succeeded byManuel Marrero (Prime Minister)
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 62)
Placetas, Cuba
Political partyCommunist Party of Cuba
Spouse(s)Marta Villanueva (div.)
Lis Cuesta Peraza
EducationMarta Abreu University of Las Villas

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (Spanish: [mi.ˈɣel ˈ ka.ˈnel]; born 20 April 1960) is a Cuban politician serving as the president of Cuba since 2019 and as the first secretary of the Communist Party since 2021.

He was previously President of the Council of State of Cuba from 2018 to 2019 and First Vice President from 2013 to 2018. He has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party 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. 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 was sworn into office the following day after the National Assembly voted for his nomination. His two predecessors in the role were brothers, and Díaz-Canel's leadership represents a non-dynastic form of succession for the Communist Party as well as for the Republic of Cuba.

Díaz-Canel is 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. He succeeded Raúl Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba on 19 April 2021, marking the end of Castro leadership in Cuba.

Early life

Díaz-Canel was born on 20 April 1960 in points Placetas, Villa Clara, to Aída Bermúdez, a schoolteacher, and Miguel Díaz-Canel, a mechanical plant worker in Santa Clara, Cuba. He is of direct paternal Spanish (Asturian) descent; his great-grandfather Ramón Díaz-Canel left Castropol, Asturias (Spain) for Havana in the late 19th century.

He graduated from Central University of Las Villas in 1982 as an electronics engineer and thereupon joined the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. Beginning in April 1985, he taught engineering 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

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 top position higher than a governor). He gained a reputation for competence in this post, during which time he also championed LGBT rights at a time when many in the province frowned upon homosexuality. In 2003, he was elected to the same position in Holguín Province. In the same year, he was co-opted as a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba.

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). In 2013 he additionally became First Vice President of the Council of State.

President of Cuba

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. On 18 April 2018, Díaz-Canel was selected as the only candidate to succeed Castro as president. He was confirmed by a vote of the National Assembly on 19 April and sworn in on the same day. He is a party technocrat who was little-known to the public before becoming president. Policy experts expected that he would pursue cautious reform of his predecessors' communist economic policies, while preserving the country's social structure. 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.

He received a visit from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro just two days after his inauguration. He met with Maduro again in May 2018 in Caracas, during his 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.

In October 2019, Diaz-Canel became the President of the Republic of Cuba, an office that was recreated that February after a series of constitutional reforms were approved in a constitutional referendum. This office replaced the one he had held since April of the previous year, which was the President of the Council of State, which was previously the head of state of Cuba. The position of President of the Council of State became a less important position and is now 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, limited the presidency to two consecutive five-year terms and banned discrimination based on disability, gender, gender identity, race or sexual orientation.

His administration has been controversial for its suppression of dissent, particularly surrounding the 11th of July protests triggered by the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government's decision to change the currency system and the general scarcity of basic necessities such as food or medicine. Díaz-Canel was particularly criticised for his apparently confrontational words amidst the protests, having been quoted as saying: "The order of combat has been given - into the streets, revolutionaries!"

First Secretary of the Communist Party

Díaz-Canel Addressing at the closing of the 8th Legislature of Communist Party Of Cuba 22 December 2021.

On 19 April 2021, he officially became the First Secretary of the Communist Party, the most powerful position in Cuba, following the resignation of Raúl Castro. He is the first non-Castro to be in such position since the Cuban revolution of 1959.

State visits

As First Vice-President

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

As leader of Cuba


Personal life

Díaz-Canel has two children with his first wife, Marta. He currently resides with his second wife, Lis Cuesta.

On 23 March 2021, Díaz-Canel obtained a PhD in technical sciences, defending a thesis entitled "Government Management System Based on Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development in Cuba."

See also

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