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Yearbook 2018

Cuba. According to, Miguel Díaz-Canel was elected April 19 by the National Assembly as new president. The event marked several changes in Cuba: the 57-year-old Díaz-Canel becomes the first in a younger generation, who did not experience the revolution in 1959 and who also does not belong to the Castro family, who lead the country. On the other hand, the real change of guard will only take place when Raúl Castro resigns as Communist Party chairman in 2021. Díaz-Canel, with his background at the local level and membership of the Central Committee for 27 years, emphasized in his inaugural speech his loyalty to the revolutionary and socialist principles that his predecessors included, in particular, his mentor Rául Castro.

2018 Cuba

At the same time, foreign investment in the country was facilitated, especially through a series of government decisions in early August. Venezuela's economic crisis during the year and the United States' tougher attitude under President Donald Trump have posed new challenges for Cuba and made such measures increasingly necessary. A draft of a new constitution, presented July 31 and likely to come into effect next year after a lengthy referral process, also included elements to attract foreign capital of the order of $ 2.5 billion per year.

The new constitution is greatly expanded and changed. Only eleven items out of 137 remain intact and 87 brand new ones are added. The reforms include a reduction of the president's tenure to ten years and the reintroduction of the Prime Minister's post. People's representation at provincial level is weakened but is strengthened at the municipal level. Some formulations also point to a future recognition of same-sex marriage.

On May 15, the first meeting of the new EU-Cuba Council was held, which aims to be a forum for extended relations and cooperation in a number of areas: countering the proliferation of weapons, sustainable development and human rights, and bilateral trade and investment. EU foreign policy spokesman Federica Mogherini said after the meeting that both sides were keen to "build a closer relationship, based on an open and forthright dialogue, mutual respect and effective cooperation".

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