Diaz-Canel sworn in to replace Raul Castro as Cuba president, vows to defend revolution

New Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has been sworn in to replace Raul Castro by the National Assembly. The new leader began his term on Thursday with a promise to defend the socialist revolution led by the Castro brothers since 1959, stressing in his first speech as president the need to modernize the island’s economy, Reuters said. “The mandate given by the people to this house is to give continuity to the Cuban revolution in a crucial historic moment,” Diaz-Canel told the assembly. He said the transition would not herald sweeping changes, promising there would be no return to capitalism. However, Diaz-Canel, who has risen through the ranks of the Communist Party over three decades, said the new period would also be characterized by “modernization of the economic and social model.”