Castro, 81, said he wouldn't seek another term in 2018, making it likely that someone outside the Castro family would lead the country for the first time since 1959.
Díaz-Canel, 52, was appointed a vice president of the Council of Ministers in March. According to his biography:
- 1982 - He graduated as an electrical engineer.
- 1985 - He joined Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces.
- April 1985 - He began teaching at the Central University of Las Villas.
- 1987 - He began working at the Union of Young Communists while continuing to teach, then went on take part in an internationalist mission to Nicaragua.
- 1989 - He continued working at the Union of Young Communists.
- 1993 - He was elected first secretary of the Provincial Committee in Villa Clara.
- 2003 - He was elected to the same position in Holguín province. He was named to the Communist Party's political bureau that same year. Raúl Castro praised his "ideological firmness."
- May 2009 - He was appointed minister of higher education.
- March 2012 - He was named vice president of the Council of Ministers.
Below are photos of taken of Díaz-Canel and other Cuban leaders attending July 26 events in 2010 and 2011.