"Cuba remains a one-party authoritarian state with a poor record on human rights. Current President Miguel Díaz-Canel succeeded Raúl Castro on April 19, 2018. Castro had announced in 2013 that he would step down after his second term. Díaz-Canel, who had been serving as First Vice President, was widely viewed as the 'heir apparent' as president, even though Raúl is continuing in his position as first secretary of Cuba's Communist Party. Under Raúl, Cuba implemented gradual market-oriented economic policy changes over the past decade, but critics maintain that the government did not take enough action to foster sustainable economic growth. Most observers do not anticipate significant policy changes under Díaz-Canel, at least in the short term, but the new president faces two enormous challenges--reforming the moribund economy and responding to desires for greater freedom."
CRS Report for Congress, R44822