The Latest: Cuba embraces social media during transition

The Latest: Cuba embraces social media during transition
The Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on the meeting of Cuba’s legislature and the scheduled end of Raul Castro’s presidency (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

Cuba’s government is embracing social media as it convenes the National Assembly to elect a successor to President Raul Castro.

State-run media and government-controlled Twitter accounts are promoting what is expected to be a historic handover of the presidency to the first non-Castro to lead the country in nearly 60 years.

The accounts are using the hashtag “Somos Continuidad” or “We are continuity.” It’s an apparent effort to convey the message that the Cubans shouldn’t expect radical change when a new president is announced on Thursday.

Internet access has increased dramatically over the past two years but the country still has one of the lowest percentages of home internet usage in the world. Few Cubans use Twitter and the vast majority of the country relies on TV for news.

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9:20 a.m.

Cuba’s legislature has opened a two-day session that is to elect a successor to President Raul Castro.

The new president will be the first person outside the Castro family to lead the island since in nearly six decades.

Legislators erupted in applause Wednesday morning as Castro entered the hall in a dark suit, accompanied by Miguel Diaz-Canel, his expected successor.

Diaz-Canel smiled and joined the applause of the president. Castro is leaving after serving two five-year terms. He succeeded his brother Fidel, who headed Cuba from 1959 to 2006.

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