WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, during the first of a two-day legislative session, the Cuban National Assembly announced its selection of Miguel Diaz-Canel as the sole candidate for Cuba's presidency. Formerly the First Vice President of the Council of State, Diaz-Canel will be the first non-Castro to lead Cuba in over 40 years. James Williams, President of Engage Cuba, released the following statement on the selection of Diaz-Canel:
"Today began the official presidential transition in Cuba after almost 60 years of Castro-led government. It is a historic and potentially transformative change. The new Cuban president will face an internal political struggle between continuity and reform. I hope that they choose reform and openness, including greater support for the private sector and access to the internet.
The United States must also seize this historic moment. After 60 years of a failed embargo, it is time to recognize that with this Cuban transition comes opportunity. We must show leadership and constructively engage. If President Trump is willing to meet with the hostile leader of North Korea, surely we can talk with Cuba. If the U.S. abandons Cuba and fails to lead, we can be sure our adversaries in China and Russia will fill the void, and the losers will be the Cuban people."