Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (American Spanish: [miˈɣel ˈdi.as kaˈnel]; born 20 April 1960) is the 19th and current President of Cuba. He was previously First Vice President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers from 2013 to 2018. He has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba since 2003, and he 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, on 24 February 2013, he was elected as First Vice President of the Council of State.
Early life and education
He graduated from Central University of Las Villas in 1982 as an electronics engineer, at which time he joined the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. Beginning in April 1985 he taught at his alma mater. In 1987 he completed an international mission in Nicaragua as First Secretary of the Young Communist League of Villa Clara.
In 1993 he 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 position equivalent to a regional governor). He gained a reputation for competence in this post, during which time he also championed LGBT rights in a country which generally frowned upon homosexuality. In 2003 he was elected to the same position in Holguín Province. In the same year, he was co-opted as a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Díaz-Canel was appointed Minister of Higher Education in May 2009, a position he held until 22 March 2012 when he became Vice President of the Council of Ministers (deputy prime minister). He is the first person born after the 1959 Cuban revolution to reach this position. In 2013 he additionally became First Vice President of Cuba.
President of the State Council
As First Vice President of the Council of State, Díaz-Canel acted as deputy to the President, Raúl Castro. In 2018, the 86-year-old Castro decided to step down from the presidency, though he would remain as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the de facto top leader in Cuba, a one-party communist state. On 18 April 2018 Díaz-Canel was selected as the only candidate to succeed Castro as president. He was confirmed by a vote of the National Assembly on 19 April and sworn in on the same day.
A party technocrat who is little-known to the public, he is expected to pursue cautious reform of Castro’s economic policies, whilst preserving the country’s social structure. 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.
He has two children with his first wife Martha, and he currently resides with his second wife Lis Cuesta.