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Will a new president mean change for Cuba?

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    Who will succeed the Castros – Fidel and Raul – has been the subject of intense speculation in Cuba for decades.

    We now know it is Miguel Diaz-Canel, the 57-year-old vice president. He was sworn in as president on Thursday, replacing Raul Castro.

    But Raul, who is 87, will continue to play a big role in policy decisions as head of the ruling Communist Party. The biggest challenges the new president faces are economic.

    Although unemployment stands at less than three percent, earnings are low.

    The government iss the main employer and state salaries average $30 per month.

    Reforms to boost private enterprise introduced by Raul Castro have been accompanied by cuts in subsidies and pensions.

    Besides, Cuba has a dual currency system that distorts the economy. One is used to pay wages and local goods; the other is used in tourism and foreign trade. Unifying the two would raise the price of imports.

    Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


    Carlos Alzugaray – former Cuban ambassador to the EU

    Vicki Huddleston – former US chief of mission in Havana

    Andrew Otazo – executive director of the Cuba Study Group

    View the original article:

    Source: Al Jazeera News

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