Castro era over in Cuba

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"The people have given this assembly the mandate to provide continuity to the Cuban Revolution during a crucial, historic moment that will be defined by all that we achieve in the advance of the modernization of our social and economic model", Diaz-Canel said.

The certain approval of Diaz-Canel by members of the unfailingly unanimous National Assembly will install someone from outside the Castro family in the country's highest government office for the first time in almost six decades.

"Well, this is very likely just a cosmetic change", Curbelo replied.

Gloria La Riva is the coordinator of the Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee.

The 86-year-old Castro will remain head of the Communist Party, designated by the constitution as "the superior guiding force of society and the state".

Vice President Mike Pence is responding to outgoing Cuban leader Raul Castro, telling him on Twitter that "we're here standing with the Cuban people".

But the U.S. State Department said Cuban citizens "had no real power to affect the outcome" of what spokeswoman Heather Nauert called an "undemocratic transition" that brought Diaz-Canal to the presidency.

In the U.S., Cuban exiles and Cuban-American leaders see this as not a true election at all, Bojorquez reports.

Cuba's National Assembly on Thursday confirmed Miguel Déaz-Canel as Cuba's new head of state.

Raul Castro's retirement from the presidency of Cuba has its own theme song.

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There was "no room in Cuba for those who strive for the restoration of capitalism" he said in his inaugural address. But Thursday, Fidel Castro's younger brother Raul stepped down. But he remains head of the Communist Party, the country's ultimate authority.

She said "It's the whole system that is corrupt".

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the first woman to ever lead the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and now the chairwoman of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, also tore into the communist regime.

Cuba's new president Miguel Diaz-Canel on Thursday became the country's first leader in almost 60 years who is not named Castro, pledging continuity for the Caribbean island during the historic transition of power, reported AFP.

"They do not intend, nor have they ever had intentions for the people of Cuba to prosper".

Mr Díaz-Canel had been serving as first vice-president for the past five years.

What's worse is that Cuba's dissident community which is being seen by the government as one which works for the United States to destabilise the country, has criticised Diaz-Canel even before it began, saying there would be no qualitative change between Cuba's past and present.

In December 2014, President Obama began direct negotiations with Raúl Castro to further facilitate the budding relationship between the two countries.

The National Assembly erupted into applause as the result was read out, with delegates smiling and shaking hands warmly with Castro and Diaz-Canel.

Raul Castro sat in the front row of the assembly, gently rocking back and forth in his chair and occasionally seeming to nod in approval.