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Raul Castro Exit's Cuba's Presidency, New Leader Named

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HAVANA (CBSMiami/AP) - For the first time in nearly six decades, the leader of Cuba is not someone from the Castro family.

Thursday morning, Raul Castro passed Cuba's presidency to the country's vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel.

The National Assembly swore in Diaz-Canel, with 603 out of 604 lawmakers present voting for the 57-year old, marking a generational shift from 86-year old Castro.

Raul Castro Leaves Power Cuba
Outgoing Cuban leader Raul Castro, holding up the arm of incoming Cuban leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel after he is announced as Cuba's new President. (Source: Cuban Government TV)

The transition, while a historic shift from an era that started with Fidel and Raul Castro's 1959 revolution, was not expected to herald sweeping changes to the island's state-run economy and one-party system, one of the last in the world.

Diaz-Canel is known as a party regular working his way up the ranks, emerging as the first vice president of the nation. He has promised to continuity in Cuba and remain close to the course set by the Castro brothers.

"I believe in continuity," Díaz-Canel told reporters recently when asked about his vision for Cuba's future. "I think there always will be continuity."

Raul Castro took over from his brother Fidel in 2008 and the two have headed Cuba's government in one form or another since 1959.

Castro, who was president from 2008 when he took over from his ailing older brother Fidel, will retain considerable clout as he will remain head of the Communist Party until a congress in 2021.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports from Havana, Cuba on new president Miguel Diaz-Canel replacing Raul Castro.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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