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  • Could Mariela Castro, renowned LGBT activist and director of the National Center for Sex Education, succeed her father as Cuba's next president?

    Could Mariela Castro, renowned LGBT activist and director of the National Center for Sex Education, succeed her father as Cuba's next president? | Photo: EFE

Published 27 January 2018

Could Mariela Castro, renowned LGBT activist and director of the National Center for Sex Education, follow in the footsteps of her father, Raul Castro?

Cuban President Raul Castro is due to step down in April after his successor is chosen by an elected governing council, known as the Council of State, which is formed by the National Assembly.

One thing is certain: Castro's son, Alejandro, won't be following in his father's footsteps. Having failed to secure a nomination to the 600-seat National Assembly, his chances of ascending to the highest office on the Caribbean island have been snuffed out.

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But Raul's daughter, the renowned LGBT activist and Director of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education Mariela Castro, does stand a chance, although she has said she has no intention of running for office.

Nominated as a parliamentary deputy, Mariela said: "Who do I want for the future of the country? I have no idea. In all of those I look at, I see virtues and defects – including in my dad."

The next president of Cuba, Mariela insists, should be decided by the people. "I do not have a favorite, but there are several people with qualities. I'm still not going to make a statement; I'm watching."

In response to the 2014 detente with the United States during the presidency of Barack Obama, Mariela said: "The people of Cuba don't want to return to capitalism,” adding that "we've been at this 56 years and ... we love saying that we are a country in revolution, trying to create socialism."

Cuba's ruling Communist Party has yet to name any formal candidate, but current First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, having delivered major party speeches and other telltale signs of sucession, may yet step into the fray.

Other possibilities include Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, the patry's second secretary, who fought with guerrillas in the Sierra Maestro during the Cuban Revolution; and Ramiro Valdes, another former guerrilla who currently serves as vice-president of the State Council and Council of Ministers.

Cuba's 168 Municipal Assemblies of People's Power have held extraordinary sessions across the island to approve candidate selection for provincial delegates, according to Granma.

The sessions were a democratic preclude to the general election process, which is due to conclude on April 19 when Cuba's next president will be elected.

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