Castro will still hold key guiding role after handover
HAVANA - Agence France-Presse
But analysts say his replacement, expected to be 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel - currently Cuba’s first vice president - won’t quite be alone at the helm of the communist island.
Castro steps down on April 19th, when the National Assembly will pick Cuba’s new leader, but even at the age of 86, he will still have a pivotal role as head of the all-powerful Communist Party of Cuba until its next congress in 2021.
It’s a powerful perch from which he can keep a watchful eye on Cuba’s restive old guard who, some fear, could try to put the brakes on his more ambitious reforms.
“He will have to share it with other political figures and high-ranking military.”
Cuba watcher Arturo Lopez Levy said the incoming president will “need a collegial style of management” and need to be able to strike a balance between various competing factions in the new government.
Key figures who have risen through the party like 60-year-old Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, or Marino Murillo, the 57-year-old who is a key architect of Cuba’s economic reforms, could play important roles in the incoming administration.
Much speculation also surrounds Raul’s son, Colonel Alejandro Castro, and his ex-son-in-law Luis Alberto Lopez-Calleias, who heads the powerful military-controlled Business Administration Group (GAE).
Cuban political scientist Esteban Morales said Diaz-Canel would benefit from Raul’s continued presence at the head of the communist party.
“Raul has the experience, the leadership, and the recognition to advise the government and provide coherence,” Morales said.