Havana : Raul Castro, who took from his brother Fidel 12 years ago and led Cuba through some of its biggest changes in 6 decades, is expected to step down on Thursday and hand over power to someone outside the Castro dynasty for the first time since the Cuban revolution more than half a century ago.
During his two terms as president, Mr. Raul Castro, 86, opened up his Communist country to a small but vital private sector and, perhaps most significantly, could start diplomatic relations with the United States. The first vice presodent Miguel Diaz- Canel is a Communist Party loyalist may be selected to succeed him.
The National Assembly has voted on the nomination but the result will not be announced until Thursday, when castro is expected to formally pass the presidency to Mr Diaz- Canel. However, Castro will stay on as head of the Communist Party until its next congress in 2021. The next Cuban leader will inherit a country in economic stagnation and with a young population impatient for change.