Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57, selected as next president of Cuba

Little Havana residents react to change in Cuban leadership

Also a stalwart of the ruling Communist Party, he is considered a safe bet to inherit the ideological mantle of Castro and other elderly leaders who helped Fidel Castro oust US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Internet access has increased dramatically over the past two years but the country still has one of the lowest percentages of home internet usage in the world. The State Council's makeup and the name of the new head of state will be announced on Thursday.

A new Cuban leader could mean change in the island nation, and while some 7News spoke with at Cafe Versailles are optimistic, others said it would not be enough.

As president, Raúl Castro took steps to modernize Cuba's centrally planned economy - an unfinished effort that's yielded mixed results. At Castro's side in the party leadership will be fellow old-guard revolutionary Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 87.

But the Cuban economy has remained sluggish, growing by just 2.4 percent per year on average over the past decade - well short of the 7 percent annual growth that government officials say is necessary for the country to develop, according to Reuters.

While this week's assembly is promoting younger leaders of government, Castro and other elders of the revolution will likely retain a degree of power on the Caribbean island as senior leaders of the Communist Party until a party congress set for 2021.

One opponent, Hildebrando Chaviano, dismissed him as a "Mr Nobody" with no policies, adding Fidel Castro's long years in power had spawned a generation of followers, not leaders. In fact, observers say, Diaz-Canel's ideology appears, if anything, to have hardened in recent years.

Beyonce Switched Out Her Manicure Midway Through Coachella Performance
Bey also added that she hoped the performance would encourage enrollment at HBCUs. Winners will be announced this summer.

The rubber-stamp National Assembly voted on the proposal to promote Diaz-Canel, who is now first vice president.

A few even call for political reform.

Silverio lauded Diaz-Canel for supporting El Mejunje at a time when homophobia was commonplace in the party.

He worked long hours, carrying out surprise inspections of state companies to counter corruption, leading to a nickname, Diaz y Noche, a wordplay on his name and a television crime drama Day and Night. He became higher education minister in 2009 before moving into the vice presidency.

"He is the man Raul has confided in and this gives him credit among the military and the old revolutionary guard", said Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat.

In a video of a Communist Party meeting that inexplicably leaked to the public a year ago, Diaz-Canel expressed a series of orthodox positions that included somberly pledging to shutter some independent media and labeling some European embassies as outposts of foreign subversion. Trump has cast a cloud over the detente reached in 2014 between Raul Castro and former US President Barack Obama. Until March, Diaz-Canel had said nothing to the Cuban people about the type of president he would be. He is seen as less reform-minded than the new president.

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