HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on Raul Castro’s handover of Cuba’s presidency (all times local):
President Mario Diaz-Canel has made his first speech as Cuba’s new head of state with a pledge to continue the socialist revolution led by his predecessors Fidel and Raul Castro.
Diaz-Canel says in the nationally televised speech before the National Assembly that his first thoughts upon taking office are for the “historic generation” that has led the country since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
The 57-year-old president says the country’s leadership cannot forget “for a second” its commitment to the people of Cuba.
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.
Raul Castro has passed Cuba’s presidency to Miguel Diaz-Canel, putting the island’s government in the hands of someone outside the Castro family for the first time in nearly six decades. He remains head of the powerful Communist Party that oversees political and social activities.