The Cuban government’s traditional May Day parade Monday is the last to be overseen by President Raul Castro — and the first without his late brother and revolutionary predecessor Fidel.
The May 1 rally draws hundreds of thousands of Cubans into Havana’s Revolution Square in a sea of red, white and blue national flags and portraits of Fidel Castro.
But he died in November and Raul Castro, after just over a decade in power, has said he will step aside in February 2018.
Monday’s parade has the feel of the end of an era. It is not clear who will take Castro’s place next year.
Most rumors suggest it will be Miguel Diaz-Canel, 56, vice-president of the State Council. Despite ministerial experience and party credentials, he is seen as lacking a support base in the military.
“There is very high uncertainty about 2018,” said Pavel Vidal, a former official of Cuba’s central bank and an academic at Colombia’s Javeriana University.
“One could expect a process of continuity” of Raul Castro’s reforms, he added, “but not at the same speed.”—Agencies