Raul Castro's daughter says would not want to be Cuban president

Reuters News
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Posted: May 03, 2017 1:01 PM

HAVANA (Reuters) - With Cuban President Raul Castro set to step down next year, his daughter Mariela Castro said on Wednesday she would never want to be a contender for the presidency.

Raul, 85, who took the reins from his older brother, the late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, has said he will step down in February 2018 at the end of a second five-year term.

His heir apparent is Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57, and experts say the latter would have to stumble badly for someone else to leapfrog him in Cuba's arcane system for choosing its leader.

Still, speculation there could be other candidates is rife on the Communist-ruled island.

Mariela Castro, 54, a lawmaker and director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), was evasive when asked about the issue at a CENESEX news conference.

"The men and women of the people of Cuba are candidates," she told reporters. "I don't say: 'We are,' because I will never let myself be nominated for such a big task."

"Sometimes, you orientate yourself one way and then suddenly, you look over there, and you say: 'How interesting is this person whom I hadn't checked out before,'" she said. "There are always surprises."

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta, editing by G Crosse)