"Cuba remains a one-party authoritarian state with a poor record on human rights. Current President Raúl Castro succeeded his long-ruling brother Fidel Castro in 2006, and the succession was characterized by a remarkable degree of stability. Raúl began his second and final five-year term as president in 2013, which is scheduled to end in February 2018, when he would be 86 years of age. Most observers see First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel as the "heir apparent" as president, although Raúl likely will continue in his position as first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party (PCC). Under Raúl, Cuba has implemented gradual market-oriented economic policy changes over the past decade, but critics maintain that the government has not taken enough action to foster sustainable economic growth. Few observers expect the government to ease its tight control over the political system, especially as the country approaches its political succession in 2018. Short-term detentions and harassment against democracy and human rights activists have increased over the past several years."
CRS Report for Congress, R44822
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html