Cuban Leader Raúl Castro Will Stay In Power Past February

Cuba's President Raul Castro and Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel are seen during the National Assembly in Havana

Despite those restrictions and the effects of the storm, the Cuban economy expanded 1.6 percent in 2017 on strong growth in tourism, Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas told the assembly Thursday.

Cuban President Raul Castro will remain in office until April, the country's government announced on Thursday.

A Castro will be Cuba's president for at least a little longer.

Castro had publicly stated his intentions to step down on February 24, but Cuba's National Assembly voted to extend the current legislative term to April 19.

The date of the elections was pushed back due to the devastation that Hurricane Irma had on Cuba in September.

The delay in the transfer of power opens up more questions about who could be Castro's successor.

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There was no mention of Diaz-Canel's role in the official announcement.

"I do not see a scope in his thought or in his expression", Antonio Rodiles said in a recent interview.

First Vice President of the Council of State Miguel Diaz-Canel is expected to replace Castro when he steps down in April.

"Diaz-Canel is ideal for that because he does not have any power, nor anyone who follows him, nor a commanding voice", Gonzalez said.

This could be an interesting shift in Cuban politics.

But Castro's departure would end 59 years of Castro family rule, starting with the revolutionary takeover of the government by Fidel Castro in 1959 when he overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista.

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