Timeline: Cuban leadership during the revolution

Miami Herald Staff

Several Cuban leaders used the title ‘president’ during the first years of the revolution, though the first three served for short times. As prime minister, Fidel Castro was the real power in government. In 1976 Castro, though never democratically elected, took the title of ‘president’ under the new Communist constitution.


Anselmo Alliegro y Milá: Jan 1 – 2, 1959

Alliegro, a former president of the Cuban Senate, held office as president for one day after the departure of Fulgencio Batista from Cuba.


Carlos Manuel Piedra: Jan. 2 – 3, 1959

Piedra, formerly the eldest judge on Cuba’s Supreme Court, was appointed provisional president in accordance with the 1940 Cuban constitution. He served for one day after Fidel Castro objected.


Manuel Urrutia Lleó: Jan. 3 – July 18, 1959

Urrutia, a leading figure in the urban resistance movement against Batista's government during the Cuban Revolution, was president for six months, and left power after a number of disagreements with Fidel Castro.


Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado: July 18, 1959 – Dec. 2, 1976

Dorticós, an attorney and opponent of the Batista regime, was the Castro government’s first minister of revolutionary laws before serving as president for 17 years.


Fidel Castro: Dec. 2, 1976 – Feb. 24, 2008

Castro became head of Cuba’s council of state following the creation of the Cuban constitution of 1976.


Raúl Castro: Feb. 24, 2008 – Feb. 24, 2018

Raúl Castro became president of the council of state after brother Fidel stepped down from power due to illness. He has said he will step down when his term ends in 2018.


Miguel Díaz-Canel: Feb. 24, 2018

Díaz-Canel, a former minister of higher education, was made first vice-president of the council of state in 2013, making him next in line for the presidency when Raúl Castro steps down.

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