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Cuban dissident says Raul's successor could be a Gorbachev

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New York, Mar 18 (EFE).- Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said here Monday that while the heir apparent to President Raul Castro appears to be a "continuer," she wouldn't dismiss the possibility that once in power he might become a reformer like Mikhail Gorbachev.

The writer of the renowned Generacion Y blog described Miguel Diaz-Canel, 52, who was recently designated as Cuba's senior vice president, as a "grey man" who will be unable to govern like Fidel or Raul Castro" because he lacks "that historical status."

"For now (Diaz-Canel) looks like a continuer, but that could easily be the mask of opportunism to reach positions of power, and once on top he could be another Gorbachev," Sanchez said during a talk at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.

Raul Castro, who formally succeeded ailing older brother Fidel in 2008, was re-elected by parliament for another five-year term that he says will be his last.

If Castro said that he will leave power in 2018, it's because by then "he probably won't have the physical or mental stamina to control the country," Sanchez said.

As has occurred on numerous other occasions since she began her international tour last month, the blogger was interrupted by sympathizers of the Cuban regime, this time throwing photocopies of dollar bills with Sanchez's face printed on them.

"This shows really well how media defamation is done," Sanchez said.

After five years of refusals by the Cuban government to let her travel abroad, the blogger was able to leave the island last month thanks to migration reform, and on her tour she has visited Brazil, the Czech Republic, Spain and Mexico.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130318/cuban-dissident-says-rauls-successor-could-be-gorbachev