Raul Castro re-elected president in Cuba

Raul Castro has been re-elected as Cuba's president, officially to his last five-year term, with a new regime number two -- Council of State Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, official media said.

"The National Assembly of People's Power today (Sunday) approved, in this capital, Army General Raul Castro Ruz as president of the Council of State, and elected Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, as its first vice president," according to the AIN news agency report yesterday.

Diaz-Canel, who turns 53 in April, is an electrical engineer by training, a former education minister and the president's de facto political heir seeking to project into the future the Americas' only one-party Communist regime. Since March 2012, Diaz-Canel has been one of the eight vice presidents on the Council of Ministers.

He took the number two spot from Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 82, who left that post but remains among the vice presidents. Among the five vice presidents on the Council of State asdesignated by the assembly was new blood: Mercedes Lopez Acea, 48. She had been the leader of the Communist Party's Havana provincial assembly.

Raul Castro, now 81, became interim president when his brother, revolution icon Fidel, took ill in 2006. He then formally became president in 2008. The National Assembly, whose members ran for office in October unopposed, also chose Esteban Lazo, 69, as their new speaker.

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