As Raul Castro leaves Cuba's presidency, transition sparks hope for many generations

Published: 18th April 2018 11:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2018 11:16 AM  

People hold an image of Cuba's late leader Fidel Castro and his brother, current President Raul Castro, during an event commemorating the 57th anniversary of Fidel Castro's declaration that the revolution he was leading in the 1950s was a socialist one, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, April 16, 2018. (AP)
Cubans of every generation are watching this week as Raul Castro leaves the presidency as part of a broader handoff to a group of younger leaders. In this image, People hold an image of Cuba's late leader Fidel Castro and his brother, current President Raul Castro, during an event in Havana, Cuba, Monday, April 16, 2018. (AP)
In this April 14, 2018 photo, Lazaro Rodriguez, 42, connects his cell phone at a public internet hot spot at night in Havana, Cuba. | AP
Few expect deep or rapid change in Cuba, a nation ruled by the same party for six decades. But the transition is sparking some hope that the new generation of leaders will make progress on deep problems, including an economy long unable to provide people with enough well-paying jobs. Cubans are also hoping for improved relations with the United States.
Amable Lopez is a 69-year-old veteran of Cuba's more than 15-year intervention in Southern Africa who has worked as a carpenter, a firefighter and oil refinery worker. Lopez says that Cuban youth have more resources than his generation but 'they need to improve the economy, raise salaries, lower prices. There are things that can be improved. Let's see what happens.'| AP
In this April 14, 2018 photo, Santera Mailyn Lopez, center, performs a ritual with restaurant workers Mili Garcia Perez, right, and Zulay De Las Mercedes, to evoke the presence of “Olokun,” a saint who according to Santeria lives in the sea and brings one health, prosperity and stability, on Chivo beach in Havana, Cuba. | AP
In this April 14, 2018 photo, Santera Mailyn Lopez, center, performs a ritual with restaurant workers Mili Garcia Perez, right, and Zulay De Las Mercedes, to evoke the presence of “Olokun,” a saint who according to Santeria lives in the sea and brings one health, prosperity and stability, on Chivo beach in Havana, Cuba. | AP
In this April 12, 2018 photo, newly-weds Dariel Verdecia, a 24-year-old computer engineer, and Roxana Cruz, a 26-year-old chemical engineer, pose for their wedding portraits in a vintage American car on the coast of Havana, Cuba. | AP
In this April 12, 2018 photo, Yojany Perez, 28, poses for a photo with his 2-year-old daughter Coraline Perez Padilla, at a skateboarding park in Havana, Cuba. Perez, who has an economy degree but works in maintenance, said with the arrival of a new Cuban president, people are expecting an improvement in the economy, for prices to decline or salaries rise. 'Our current economy does not give for many luxuries,' Perez said. | AP
In this April 14, 2018 photo, National Ballet of Cuba dancer Daniela Gomez Perez stands on point as she poses outside the Capitol in Havana, Cuba. Gomez, who says Cubans love dancing, trusts the next generation of leaders will continue such traditions and that art will continue to be the engine of Cuban society. Gomez said she is proud to represent Cuba during a dance trip in May to Washington, Tampa and Chicago, and that the Cuban state has always supported dance. (AP)
In this April 13, 2018 photo, musician Lazaro Martinez poses with his trombone on the Malecon sea wall in Havana, Cuba. Since 1991, Martinez has regularly played his music at the Malecon. 'My politics are music,' said the 52-year-old. | AP
In this April 13, 2018 photo, teacher Luisa Pacheco, 65, poses with her students in Havana, Cuba. Pacheco, who began teaching at the age of 14 in the Sierra Maestra's rural schools, said she likes education because she wants to train new generations for a good future and achieve what she did. | AP
In this April 13, 2018 photo, motorcycle taxi driver Ricardo Medina, 60, transports vegetable vender Rigoberto Herrera Mendez, left, and coconut vendor Osvaldo Ochoa in Campo Florido, east of Havana, Cuba. | AP
Ninety-three-year-old Pascual Gallo Portieres says he's proud of his service as an intelligence agent for Cuba in the early days after the revolution, when the United States was actively trying to overthrow the government. And he's sure the outgoing president will take the right decisions. 'At far as the future, I'm very confident because Raul has all my trust, and I hope that Raul can achieve all his plans.' He said he also hopes that relations with the United States improve.
In this April 12, 2018 photo, Armando Ricart Batista, a teacher by training, a former boxer and actor, poses next to Cuban and U.S. flags at his home, with the Cuban one carrying photos of Fidel and Raul Castro, in Havana, Cuba. Ricart, 65, said he's not affiliated with the Communist Party but hopes a new generation of leaders will follow the ideals of the Castros. He said he hangs the U.S. flag because relations with the U.S. improved under then-President Barack Obama, and the majority of American people are in favor of relations with Cuba. 'The American people are good,' he said. | AP
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