Miguel Díaz-Canel

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Miguel Díaz-Canel
Díaz-Canel in 2023
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba
Assumed office
19 April 2021
Preceded byRaúl Castro
President of Cuba
Assumed office
10 October 2019
Prime MinisterManuel Marrero Cruz
Vice PresidentSalvador Valdés Mesa
Preceded byRaúl Castro
President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers
In office
19 April 2018 – 10 October 2019
Vice PresidentSalvador Valdés Mesa
Preceded byRaúl Castro
Succeeded byHimself (as President of Cuba)
Manuel Marrero Cruz (as Prime Minister of Cuba)
Additional positions
Vice President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers
In office
February 24, 2013 – April 19, 2018
Preceded byJosé Ramón Machado Ventura
Succeeded bySalvador Valdés Mesa
Minister of Education
In office
May 8, 2009 – March 21, 2012
Preceded byJuan Vela Valdés
Succeeded byRodoldo Alarcón Ortíz
Personal details
Born (1960-04-20) 20 April 1960 (age 63)
Placetas, Villa Clara Province, Cuba
Political partyCommunist Party of Cuba
SpouseLis Cuesta
Alma materUniversity of Las Villas

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel y Bermúdez (Spanish: [mi.ˈɣel ˈdi.as kaˈnel]; born 20 April 1960) is a Cuban politician and engineer who is the 3rd and current First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. As First Secretary, he is the most powerful person in the Cuban government. Díaz-Canel succeeds the brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro, making him the first non-Castro leader of Cuba since the revolution.

Díaz-Canel has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party since 2003, and 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, in 2013, he was elected as First Vice President of the Council of State. He succeeded Raúl Castro as the President of the Council of State in 2018; in December 2019 the office would evolve into President of the Republic. On 19 April 2021 Díaz-Canel assumed the reins of the Communist Party of Cuba as well, when he replaced Raúl Castro as First Secretary.

Early life

Díaz-Canel was born on 20 April 1960 in Placetas, Villa Clara, to Aída Bermúdez, a schoolteacher, and Miguel Díaz-Canel, a mechanical plant worker in Santa Clara, Cuba.[1][2] 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.[3][4]

He graduated from Central University of Las Villas in 1982 as an electronics engineer and thereupon joined the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces.[5] Beginning in April 1985, he taught engineering at his alma mater.[6] In 1987, he completed an international mission in Nicaragua as First Secretary of the Young Communist League of Villa Clara.[7]

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).[5][8] He gained a reputation for competence in this post,[8] during which time it is reported that he supported LGBT rights at a time when many in the province frowned upon homosexuality.[9] In 2003, he was elected to the same position in Holguín Province.[5][10] In the same year, he was co-opted as a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba.[11]

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).[5][12] In 2013 he additionally became First Vice President of the Council of State.[5] As First Vice President of the Council of State, Díaz-Canel acted as deputy to the President, Raúl Castro.

Leadership of Cuba

In 2018, the 86-year-old Castro stepped down from the position as president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers, 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.[13][14] On 18 April 2018, Díaz-Canel was selected as the only candidate to succeed Castro as president.[8] He was confirmed by a vote of the National Assembly on 19 April[8] and sworn in on the same day.[15] Policy experts expected that he would pursue cautious reform of his predecessors' communist economic policies, while preserving the country's social structure.[14] 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.[9]

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.[16]

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.[17] 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 gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.[18][19][20] His government also reformed the country's Family Code in 2022, after a referendum was approved, which, among other things, legalised same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption and altruistic surrogacy. These policies have been described as the "most progressive" in Latin America.[21]

His administration has been controversial for its suppression of dissent, particularly surrounding the 2021 Cuban protests triggered by the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, and his suggestion to combat the country's food crisis with pizza, guarapo and lemonade,[22] the government's decision to change the currency system[23] and the general scarcity of basic necessities such as food or medicine caused by the US embargo against Cuba. Díaz-Canel was particularly criticised[by whom?] for his apparently confrontational words amidst the protests, having been quoted as saying: "The order of combat has been given - into the streets, revolutionaries!"[24]

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. BBC News stated that Díaz-Canel is loyal to the Castros' ideologies.[25]

During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Cuban government blamed the United States for the crisis in Ukraine and backed Russia's right to "self-defense" against NATO expansion, but did not endorse the invasion, saying the conflict should be resolved diplomatically.[26] Díaz-Canel visited Vladimir Putin in Moscow in November 2022, and the two leaders criticized Western sanctions against Cuba and Russia. They also opened a monument to Fidel Castro in one of the Moscow's districts.[27]

On 19 April 2023, Díaz-Canel was re-elected by the National Assembly for a second five-year term as president, along with Salvador Valdés as vice president. Despite the difficult economic conditions facing the country, his re-election was widely expected and received widespread support from the Assembly members, with 97.66% backing Diaz-Canel's proposal and 93.4% supporting Valdés. The president was praised by the Assembly members for his leadership in difficult circumstances and for prioritizing collective work, innovation, and science.[28][29]

State visits

As First Vice-President

Country Areas visited Date(s) Notes
South Africa South Africa Pretoria 16 March 2015 [30]
Angola Angola Luanda 17 March 2015 40 years of independence of Angola and the establishment of relations between Cuba and Angola.[31]
Namibia Namibia Windhoek 20 March 2015 25th anniversary of Namibian independence [32]
Angola Angola Luanda 26 September 2017 Inauguration of Angolan President[33]

As leader of Cuba


Personal life

Díaz-Canel has two children from his marriage to his first wife, Marta Villanueva, which ended in divorce. He currently resides with his second wife, Lis Cuesta.[38]

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."[39]

See also


  1. ^ "Díaz-Canel no es un relevo histórico". Martinoticias. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  2. ^ Ahmed, Azam; Robles, Frances (19 April 2018). "Who Is Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba's New President?". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  3. ^ Cuba ya tiene un nuevo presidente, de ascendencia asturiana – ileon
  4. ^ De ruta por las raíces asturianas de Miguel Díaz-Canel – El Comercio
  5. ^ a b c d e Damien Cave, Raúl Castro Says His Current Term as President of Cuba Will Be His Last, The New York Times, 24 February 2013
  6. ^ "Cuban president highlights Fidel Castro's thoughts about education". www.radiohc.cu. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  7. ^ Staff, Al Jazeera. "Miguel Diaz-Canel: Cuba's post-Castro president". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "Miguel Díaz-Canel: Cuba selects first non-Castro president since Fidel". The Guardian. Associated Press. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b Augustin, Ed (18 April 2018). "After six decades of Castro rule, Cubans greet end of era with a shrug". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  10. ^ "En sustitución de Juan Vela es designado Miguel Díaz Canel ministro de Educación Superior". cubaheadlines.com.
  11. ^ Ryan Villarreal (26 February 2013). "Sustaining The System: Cuba's New VP Diaz-Canel Marks Ascent Of Younger Generation". International Business Times.
  12. ^ "Nota oficial". Diario Granma. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ a b Andrés Oppenheimer (20 April 2018). "Cuba's new 'babysaur' to replace a dinosaur is no cause of celebration—it's shameful!". Miami Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Cuba's Raúl Castro hands over power to Miguel Díaz-Canel". BBC News. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Charles and Camilla make history in Cuba". 25 March 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  17. ^ Cuba’s Reformed Constitution, a Democratic and Participatory Process Havana Times, 23 July 2018
  18. ^ Marc Frank (21 February 2019). "Explainer: What is old and new in Cuba's proposed constitution". Reuters. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Cuba expands rights but rejects radical change in updated constitution". UPI. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  20. ^ Mega, Emiliano Rodríguez (8 March 2019). "Cuba acknowledges climate change threats in its constitution". Nature. 567 (7747): 155. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00760-3. PMID 30862928.
  21. ^ "Cuba approves same-sex marriage in historic turnabout". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  22. ^ "Miguel Díaz-Canel: "La limonada es la base de todo"" (in Spanish). Noticias Cubanet. 26 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Day Zero: how and why Cuba unified its dual currency system | LSE Latin America and Caribbean". LSE Latin America and Caribbean blog. 10 February 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  24. ^ Público (12 July 2021). "El presidente de Cuba: "La orden de combate está dada, a la calle los revolucionarios"". Público (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Cuba leadership: Díaz-Canel named Communist Party chief". 19 April 2021 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  26. ^ Gámez Torres, Nora (23 February 2022). "Cuba blames U.S. for the crisis in Ukraine, but stops short of endorsing Putin's invasion". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 25 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  27. ^ Russian, Cuban presidents meet in Moscow, decry 'unfair' sanctions
  28. ^ "Reelecto Miguel Díaz-Canel presidente de la República de Cuba - Prensa Latina" (in Spanish). 19 April 2023. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  29. ^ Oppmann, Patrick (19 April 2023). "Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel wins a second term". CNN. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  30. ^ Russell (23 March 2015). "Díaz-Canel reaffirms Cuba's unconditional support for the African cause". Youthandeldersja.wordpress.com. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  31. ^ "Diaz-Canel: We come to Angola to confirm our friendship, our brotherhood". Youthandeldersja.wordpress.com. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  32. ^ "Cuba´s First Vice-president Attends Inauguration of Namibian President". Cadenagramonte.cu. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  33. ^ "Radio Havana Cuba – Miguel Diaz-Canel Heading Cuba's Delegation to New Angolan President's Inauguration". Radiohc.cu. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  34. ^ "Cuba. Condecoran a Raúl Castro y Díaz-Canel con la orden Agostinho Neto" [Cuba. Raúl Castro and Díaz-Canel are awarded the Agostinho Neto order] (in Spanish). Resúmen Latinoamericano. 2 July 2019.
  35. ^ Cuban President Diaz Canel awarded Libertadores Order in Venezuela. Radio Artemisa. Published: Thursday, 31 May 2018 10:45
  36. ^ "Vietnam condecora a Miguel Díaz-Canel con la Orden de Ho Chi Minh" [Vietnam honors Miguel Díaz-Canel with the Order of Ho Chi Minh] (in Spanish). Cuba Debate. 9 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez on Twitter: "Un altísimo honor recibir la Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca, condecoración que simboliza el origen, la identidad y la fortaleza de esta entrañable nación. La recibo con humildad e infinito agradecimiento, consciente de que el auténtico merecedor es el heroico pueblo cubano. https://t.co/Lw8GIhk2ZI" / Twitter". 12 February 2023. Archived from the original on 12 February 2023. Retrieved 12 February 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  38. ^ "Quién es Miguel Díaz-Canel, el sucesor de Fidel y Raúl Castro". 25 February 2013. Archived from the original on 27 November 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  39. ^ ""Totalmente espectacular" tesis de Díaz- Canel | Cuba Noticias 360". 23 March 2021.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba
Political offices
Title last held by
Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado
President of Cuba
Preceded by President of the Council of State of Cuba
Succeeded by
Esteban Lazo Hernández
(not head of state)
President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba
Succeeded by
Manuel Marrero Cruz
(as Prime minister)
Preceded by First Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba
Succeeded by