It took more than half a century for the surname Castro not to be synonymous with the presidency of Cuba.
Miguel Díaz-Canel is the successor of Raúl Castro, but the change of last name in the presidency does not imply transformations of form and substance in governing.
Díaz-Canel said it himself at the Cuban national assembly, “Raul Castro, as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, will lead the decisions of greatest transcendence for the present and the future of this country.”
The reactions in favor and against the historical fact, for many, have not been made wait.
The United States, a country with which the island has had a long history of disagreements, assured that, “The United States has no expectation that the Cuban people will see greater liberties under Castro’s handpicked successor,” a spokesman for the White House National Security Council told EFE.
Although Díaz Canel counted with 603 out of the 604 valid votes, the Trump administration continues with its foreign policy although it keeps the brotherhood toward the Cuban people afoot.
“We will continue to show solidarity with the Cuban people in their petition for freedom and prosperity, so we are not expected to change our policy of directing funds to the Cuban people and away from Cuba’s military, security and intelligence services,” the spokesperson added.
The now president, does not have absolute powers as were once held by Fidel and Raúl Castro later. His person appears as president of the State Council and Ministers Council for the island while, Raúl will continue to command the Armed Forces, bodies that is no secret for anyone maintains the economic control.
The State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said she is not “optimistic” about the direction the island will take under Castro’s successor, because that transition “is not democratic (...) We hope the new president of Cuba will listen to the people. We are not sure that this is going to happen. We would like to see a freer and more democratic Cuba. We will be observing it, but we are not too optimistic.”
Despite the progress made in the bilateral relations between Washington and Havana under the presidency of Barack Obama, a new direction was taken with Donald Trump’s arrival to power, advances that have been losing strength and that, on the contrary, have become even greater differences after the alleged “sonic attacks” against US diplomats in the Panamanian capital, which led the US government to leave its embassy on the island with the bare minimum and expel 17 US Cuban officials despite the doubts about what happened.
Faced with this reality, the position taken by the Panamanian government is the complete opposite. Through a statement, the Varela administration “congratulates” the new president and the Cuban people. The official document indicates that "it predicts successes in its management and expresses its confidence that the strong ties between the two-sister nations will continue to be consolidated".