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One year in, Díaz-Canel struggles to modernize Cuba in the face of US pressure

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Analysis. Trump’s aggressive policies hit Cuba while the reform process was effectively in mid-stream. While Miguel Díaz-Canel has begun to modernize the bureaucracy, a poor economy has hampered his first year as Cuban president.

written by Roberto Livi

Topic Latin America


April 23, 2019

One year ago, when Miguel Díaz-Canel was sworn in as the new president of Cuba—the first head of state since 1960 who did not bear the surname Castro. The task before him was clear: to modernize the country while maintaining continuity with the political line that his two predecessors had established, under the slogan “a prosperous and sustainable socialism.”

Díaz-Canel, 58, an engineer by trade, who spent most of his life climbing through the hierarchy of the Communist Party of Cuba, the country’s party-state, and who has significant experience in government, was considered the “most prepared” candidate to manage the transition toward a government run by the newer generation, that of leaders born after the 1959 revolution.

Díaz-Canel himself stressed this main objective on many occasions, saying that “we represent continuity, not a rupture” with the socialism proclaimed by Fidel in the early 1960s.

“Díaz-Canel has secured an important first success by moving forward with the renewal of the bureaucratic apparatus and the modernization of its structures,” the historian and analyst Enrique López Oliva tells us. “The new........

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